Best Western clerk

by Brian Close

While most Minnesotans were eating turkey and watching football, three teens were engaging in a statewide crime spree that ended Sunday at the Best Western motel on University Avenue Southeast.
Two of the suspects, ages 17 and 14, allegedly stole a taxi in St. Paul and drove it to Red Wing, where they broke into a pawnshop and stole several rifles. They then traded the taxi for a stolen car, which had three shotguns inside.
Driving to Cass County, the younger boy was replaced with his 13-year-old cousin. The new duo then entered the Lake Country Laundromat in Cass Lake, kidnapping the attendant, Albertina Garton, 73, and taking her car.
When the woman failed to come home after her shift, her son reported her missing and police began searching for her.
The woman, along with the boys, drove her car to the Best Western motel at 2600 University Ave. S.E., where Garton rented a room. The suspects left, warning her not to call police.
Garton called the desk clerk and explained the situation. The clerk called police, who picked up Garton at about 1 a.m. Sunday.
The teens returned at 3:15 a.m., where police arrested them after a short chase through the parking lot of the motel.
Minneapolis police Inspector Randy Johnson said the police recovered the shotgun used in the kidnapping as well as the victim’s vehicle.
He said the victim was “very upset” about the incident, and he praised the Best Western staff for their actions.
“It was a fine job done by the desk clerk at the motel in being concerned for the safety of a guest, and was instrumental in the apprehension of these two dangerous suspects,” he said.
As of Tuesday, the suspects had not been charged.

In other police news:
ù Minneapolis police responded to an assault call at 1066 25th Ave. S.E. on Saturday, after a woman was reportedly beaten at a co-worker’s house.
The victim, 29, said she went to a co-worker’s house and had several beers. When the co-worker went to bed, her son and his girlfriend, along with another girl, stayed up with the victim.
After using the bathroom, the victim came out and was reportedly beaten and robbed of more than $150.
Earlier, the victim made a comment about the co-worker’s son, who she said was “making out” with his girlfriend “right on the table.”
She told police that while she was being attacked, the son asked “So, you don’t like the way we make out?”
The woman ran to a nearby building and called police, who transported her to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment.

ù A Thanksgiving weekend burglar broke into a house near the corner of 10th Avenue and 4th Street Southeast, taking a television and VCR, as well as several other items.
The victims returned home after the long weekend and found the items missing. A side door had been broken, and the burglar reached in and unlocked the door.
Matthew Conde, one of the victims and a College of Liberal Arts junior, said the house’s occupants will make do without the items.
Conde said the victims have other televisions and other VCRs, and that a stolen rugby jacket will not leave his roommate out in the cold.
“He has other jackets,” he said.