String of crime hits area

Last week, there was a brief uptick in crime on and near the University’s campus.

Nick Wicker

The University of Minnesota campus and surrounding areas saw a small wave of crime over the past week, including at least three burglaries, two robberies and seven cases of theft.

But University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said this week’s activity pales in comparison to last fall’s crime surge.

“Thankfully, we’re not experiencing as many as we did this time last year,” he said.

In one incident, a Jimmy John’s deliveryman alerted officers of a man who was wandering up and down the sidewalks near fraternity row on University Avenue Southeast, Miner said.

According to a police report, the man was trying to pick fights with passersby in the early hours of Friday morning.

The officer, beckoned by the deliveryman and a number of other onlookers, approached the suspect near the YMCA building on University Avenue Southeast, Miner said.

The suspect walked away from the officer and eventually took off running, Miner said. He then jumped a fence near the University Avenue parking ramp when the officer’s partner joined the pursuit.

The pair of officers chased the man for two blocks before arresting him at the intersection of University Avenue Southeast and Walnut Street Southeast, Miner said.

A street-side breathalyzer test revealed the man had a blood alcohol content of 0.174, Miner said. The man was charged with disorderly conduct, fleeing on foot and minor consumption. He was booked at Hennepin County Jail, according to the police report.

Laptop stolen, victim gets it back

Communications sophomore Nick Jenkins said he was standing outside his fraternity house early Saturday morning when three men started to cause a ruckus in the front lawn.

According to Jenkins, another fraternity member told him the men were strangers and that a laptop had gone missing from thehouse.

Jenkins said he and a friend urged the men to leave the property, then followed them and asked about the missing laptop.

After one of the men told Jenkins he was missing his phone, Jenkins said he and his friend insisted everyone return to the house to search for it, but the strangers refused to do so.

“I thought it was really suspicious that they didn’t want their phone back,” hesaid.

Jenkins noticed a laptop in one man’s backpack, he said, and began to chase the man on foot for about four blocks until Jenkins found him hiding in the pit area of Rapson Hall.

Jenkins said when he confronted the man again, he handed over the backpack and fled.

However, the police report said Jenkins was approached by the suspect, who the report said was hiding near Rapson Hall, when the suspect grabbed his backpack off his shoulders and ran through the mall area toward the Washington Avenue Bridge.

According to the report, Jenkins chased the suspect and saw him drop the bag near Northrop Auditorium.

No arrests have been made in this case.

Book thief busted

A University student was caught Friday morning attempting to steal from the Coffman Union Bookstore, according to a police report. 

Miner said the suspect attempted to shoplift three books totaling over $450.

Alex Semenchuk, a junior studying human resource development and business and marketing education, was watching the surveillance video live from Coffman’s security office.

Semenchuk said the suspect tried to quickly put the books in his backpack and leave through a side exit.

Semenchuk said he then radioed to another security guard, who ran after the suspect.

The security guard caught the suspect near the bus stop outside the student union and brought him back to the bookstore to charge him for the textbooks, Semenchuk said.

According to the report, police arrested the student and cited him for trespassing and theft from a business.