Flasher appalls St. Paul students

Jesse Weisbeck

A man dressed for winter recreation left an unamusing impression with two female students Thursday.
An unidentified man dressed in a black ski mask, snow pants and boots flashed the roommates near the student union on the St. Paul campus.
“When we were getting in our car I noticed this guy hanging around a bus stop,” said Lindsay Helgeson, a College of Liberal Arts student. “As we were pulling out of the parking lot I saw this guy through the passenger side window flashing us.”
Helgeson and her roommate then reported the crime to Minneapolis police.
“I was surprised, then I laughed, but afterward I was appalled,” Helgeson said.
The Dinkytown area has been stricken with several such exposing incidents lately, said University Police Sgt. Charles Miner.
“They’re probably all related,” he said. “But those guys are hard to catch unless they repeat the offense in the same spot every day.”
University Police have been doing a study of the connected incidents. So far, they put together a vague description of the suspect and usual offense times.
“The suspect likes to run up to victims, grab them in the crotch, run back about 40 or 50 feet away, turn around and expose himself to them,” said University Police Sgt. Joe May. “Even though it happens off campus, it seems like University people are mostly victimized.”
Police say the individual likes to operate in the early morning. He is between 18 and 24 years old and wears jeans or running clothes. But police said this describes about everyone on campus.

In other police news:
ù A University student refused to yield to road rage Saturday evening.
Joseph Lambie, a College of Liberal Arts student, was attacked by an angry motorist and held the suspect under citizen’s arrest for an hour until Minneapolis police arrived.
Lambie was working as a traffic controller when he issued Xunhai Xu a violation tag. Xu, 24, quickly became angry with Lambie and punched him several times in the head, according to the police report.
But Lambie managed to restrain Xu, placing him under citizen’s arrest until police arrived.

ù A dispute between two facilities management employees in Moos Towers that started as a shirt-ripping accident ended in the termination of one of the employees last week.
“It was a misunderstanding that got worse,” said Miner, who investigated the incident.
According to the police report, the dispute originated in December over a T-shirt that offended Butch Mayer. He allegedly tore the shirt by accident.
On Jan. 9, the two employees got into a shoving match when Mayer pushed Michael Zaloski to the ground.
But when Miner interviewed the two individuals, both gave different stories.
“They didn’t even agree on when the shirt-ripping incident occurred,” Miner said.
The situation was peacefully resolved; no charges were filed.
However, Zaloski, who was working with Facilities Management through a temporary agency, was reassigned.

ù After a Gophers basketball fan finished watching his team get deflated by a loss Wednesday, he discovered his tires had met a similar fate.
Season ticket holder Charles Steinke and his family walked out to his parked truck near the University Sports Pavilion after a crushing loss to Michigan State.
As soon as they got in the 1997 red Chevrolet Suburban, Steinke discovered an obscene letter stamped to the windshield.
“The note said that we did damage to someone’s car. But that was just untrue,” Steinke said. “So I took the note off and we left.”
Steinke, 64, along with his wife and grandson, drove for almost 20 minutes before discovering both left tires on the truck were flat.
According to the police report, the tires were slashed by an unknown suspect.
But after observing the tires, Steinke noticed they weren’t slashed. “Someone loosened the valve cores and the air leaked out of the tires,” he said. “Probably the same guy who left the letter.”
Unable to drive the vehicle with two flat tires, Steinke waited with his car stranded in the middle of the road.
Ross Schlinke, a University maintenance employee, noticed Steinke’s stranded vehicle and helped him.
“He must’ve seen the little yellow lights on my truck when I was going toward the Fourth Street Ramp when he waved me down.”
Schlinke stopped and assisted Steinke by calling parking services, who in turn called the Minneapolis police.