Police bulletin warns of convicted stalker

John Wyche has been arrested more than 70 times on various charges.

by Elizabeth Cook

University police sent a bulletin Thursday to the University community about a convicted stalker, who has also been charged with indecent exposure and sexual assault.

John Wyche has “plagued” the area for the past few years, said Lt. Charles Miner of the University Police Department.

Wyche, 41, who agreed to an interview with the Daily, said he approached a woman at the University on Thursday and asked her if she is a good person. If she had said “yes,” he said, he would have told her the ways in which she wasn’t.

Instead she said, “I know you,” having recognized him from the bulletin. That’s when he left the building. Police confirmed a 911 call was made from an office in the tunnels below the Mayo Clinic regarding the situation.

Wyche said that was when he found out about the bulletin. He said he wasn’t surprised because that’s the tactic police use.

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said that later the same night Wyche was screaming biblical prophecies and insults about the police outside the University Police Department on Washington Avenue Southeast.

An officer went outside and sent him on his way, Hestness said.

Hestness said Wyche has been charged with trespassing in the past and that police are in the process of making new boundaries at the University where he can’t go.

Wyche, a self-described “spiritual” man, said he goes to the University area, and other areas, to deliver the message of God, and that’s what he was doing when he approached the woman in the tunnel.

Wyche said the reason his name “draws a red flag,” is that because sometimes when people try to deliver the message of God, other people, in blindness, call security.

They say, “Hey, he’s that person,” Wyche said. “But I’m not the one to be fearing.”

University Sgt. Erik Stenemann said Wyche drifts into the University area for a few months, leaves for a few, and then comes back.

Currently, Wyche is not wanted by the police. He has no warrants and he’s a free man, Stenemann said.

The information bulletin was posted because Wyche has a long criminal history and police thought the community should be aware that he’s back, Stenemann said.

According to Hennepin County records, Wyche has been found guilty 19 times for various offenses, including twice for indecent exposure, once for fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and once for harassment. He has also been found guilty of theft, disorderly conduct, trespassing and shoplifting.

He has been arrested more than 70 times for charges including shoplifting and criminal sexual conduct.

Sex crimes investigator Sgt. Brian Carlson said Wyche is on the streets is because the crimes he’s committed are misdemeanors.

A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said the penalty for a misdemeanor can be no more than 90 days in jail.

If it’s a gross misdemeanor, like the fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct Wyche was convicted of in February 2002, the highest penalty is one year in jail.

Wyche completed a full year in a workhouse for that crime, according to Hennepin County Criminal Court documents.

Records said Wyche did go to court for first-degree criminal sexual conduct in October 1998, but the case was dismissed because of insufficient evidence.

Wyche said most of the crimes he’s been accused of are “serious fabrications.” Wyche spoke about the 1998 rape charge, saying the case was dismissed because it was a lie.

“The public defender strongly disagreed it happened,” Wyche said.

Carlson also said Wyche has been kicked out of almost every business in Uptown, another area he frequents.

Wyche said that a few years ago he was a different person. He used to just hang out and do nothing.

On Wednesday afternoon, Wyche was arrested for disorderly conduct near University Avenue Southeast and 25th Avenue Southeast.

Ron Reier, public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, said an officer was eating lunch in Arby’s when he saw Wyche approach a woman on the street. It was obvious the woman was not interested in talking, but Wyche kept following her, he said.

The officer then got in his car and went to talk to Wyche, who refused to talk and kept walking. The officer, along with a University officer, arrested Wyche for disorderly conduct, Reier said.

But, according to records, the charge was dismissed.

Wyche recognizes that he used to be the man on the top of the police list, and now it’s instantly that way again, he said.

Wyche said he’s only there to deliver the message of God.

“I have nothing to fear,” Wyche said.