Wilson attacker caught

He was charged with false imprisonment and failure to register as a predatory offender.

by Andy Steinke

.Minneapolis police arrested suspect Matthew Pengra of New Brighton Saturday in connection with the Oct. 1 assault at Wilson Library, according to University police.

Pengra, 35, who was wanted by University police for the assault, was arrested by Minneapolis police in a house on the 1400 block of Washington Street Northeast, University police Lt. Chuck Miner said.

Pengra was identified as the man who attempted to assault a University graduate student in a fifth-floor stairwell in Wilson Library after his picture was pulled from one of the library’s security cameras.

He had approached the woman and offered to assist her in finding a book. He told her the book was on the fifth floor and led her into the stairwell.

There was no public access on that floor, however. Pengra allegedly grabbed her arms and then tried to cover her mouth to stop her from screaming.

She was able to get away, and Pengra fled the scene.

He was charged Monday in Hennepin County District Court with false imprisonment and failure to register as a predatory offender, according to court documents.

Pengra was also charged in July 2006 with molesting a woman in University Village apartments.

University police dispatch received a call Saturday night saying Pengra was in a northeast Minneapolis house. Because of the home’s off-campus location, Minneapolis police were dispatched to the home, Miner said.

Minneapolis police entered the house and arrested Pengra because of the several felony warrants he had out for his arrest.

Pengra was wanted by Anoka County on terroristic threat charges and by Hennepin County because he had failed to keep his predatory offender information up to date, University Police Chief Greg Hestness said.

He last registered as a sex offender in August 2006, according to the criminal complaint.

Pengra was taken to Hennepin County Jail, where he remains, according to a jail official.

He is being held on three counts: one for the false imprisonment of the woman at Wilson Library and two for felony charges in Anoka and Washington counties.

His bail for the false imprisonment charge was set at $20,000, but he is being held without bail for the other felony charges, according to the jail.

Pengra is a Level 2 noncompliant predatory offender, which means he is likely to offend again.

Miner said he will likely be reclassified to Level 3, the most serious level, after his recent actions.

“Most predatory offenders aren’t even assigned a risk level, because they aren’t deemed likely to reoffend,” Miner said.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said Pengra’s status is decided by the court system.

Pengra could serve up to three years in prison and be fined as much as $5,000 if he is found guilty of the false imprisonment charges.

If he is found guilty of failing to register as a predatory offender, he could serve a prison sentence ranging from a year and a day to five years, with fines amounting to as much as $10,000.