Burglaries plague movers

Justin Horwath

.While students settled into their houses and residence halls to gear up for the school year, some took the liberty of moving items out of residences for them, as a rash of burglaries have struck around campus.

The case of a 12th Avenue Southeast students’ residence reflects the sometimes brash nature of burglaries. Police reports show nine burglaries occurred near campus over Labor Day weekend.

According to the police report, a suspect entered the students’ house though the door Sunday afternoon. The suspect walked past students who were unpacking in the living room and made his way out the kitchen – allegedly taking a wallet with him.

“He just wasn’t running or wasn’t in a hurry, he was just kind of walking nonchalantly through our door,” Jamie Woychek, a journalism senior, said.

Police made no arrests in the incident, and witnesses said the man walked down the street, brushing his hand in the air at parents and students yelling at him.

Carol Oosterhuis, second precinct crime-prevention specialist for the Minneapolis Police Department, said burglaries are on the rise in that area.

Minneapolis Police statistics show a 21.38 percent rise in burglaries from Aug. 27, 2006 to Aug. 27 of this year, Oosterhuis said, adding that there have been cases of students calling their parents before they call police – which she said is a mistake.

“With a lot of the burglaries this week and throughout the year, it’s people not securing their property,” she said.

She advised students to get identification and serial numbers of electronics so police can better track them if stolen, otherwise “there’s no way of connecting it to the crime.”

The University has an online database system in which users can log in identification numbers of lost or stolen items. Also, users can file online police reports via the University Police Web site.

Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for University Police, advised students to lock their doors and secure their windows when they are away. In three of the nine weekend burglaries, police reports state residents left doors unlocked.

Police reports show a similar incident occurred at a 15th Avenue Southeast residence and a Delaware Street apartment in Prospect Park Sunday.

In Prospect Park, Zhong Chen, 31, alleges he found an unknown man standing in his kitchen after he heard noises downstairs.

In three other weekend burglaries, suspects broke screens or doors, according to police reports.

Minneapolis’ second precinct encompasses the University’s East Bank, including southeast Minneapolis neighborhoods with high student concentrations such as Southeast Como, Marcy Holmes and Prospect Park. Last year, burglaries rose from August to September in all of these neighborhoods, according to Minneapolis Police statistics.

Oosterhuis said there has been a 5 percent decrease in violent crime – such as robbery and assault – in the second precinct over the past year.

Troubled customer returns to Palmer’s with shovel

A man who had been kicked out of Palmer’s Bar three times between Friday evening and early Saturday morning allegedly came back to the bar on the 500 block of Cedar Avenue on the West Bank a fourth time and attempted to assault a bouncer with a shovel, according to a police report and witnesses.

The Minneapolis man, Gamal Moussa, 30, reportedly lifted his shirt to remove the shovel from his pants, cursed at the bouncer and threatened him.

The bouncer, Devon Rivard, disarmed Moussa as he was wielding the estimated two-foot-long shovel, according to the report. Rivard said he sustained no serious injuries.

“My hand was just a little bruised up from defending myself, that’s all,” he said, adding that Moussa had been banned for life from Palmer’s.

“Usually with Palmer’s, if you’re not allowed in there for life, you’ve done something pretty stupid,” he said.

Police arrested Moussa in a bar across the street, according to the report, and charged him with assault with a dangerous weapon – a felony that carries a maximum sentence of seven years behind bars and a $14,000 fine.

Police booked Moussa in Hennepin County Jail and recommend further investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, Palmer’s workers and customers staved off the notion that the bar, which is advertised as a classic people-watching spot known for serving Heineken on tap, isn’t a safe place to have a drink.

John Covill, 30, of Minneapolis, described himself as a regular at Palmer’s and was there during the early Saturday incident. He called the bar, “a good, safe place to hang out.”

“But if someone is just used to going to frat parties Ö they might go there and get too drunk and get into trouble,” he said.

In early June, a gunman shot a 29-year-old Minneapolis man, Lorenzo Guffie, in front of Palmer’s after an altercation in the bar.

Shortly after, Guffie crashed a van into a tree in front of the bar and staggered out on the street. He died from a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner.

Minneapolis police officials arrested Chaun Carridine Aug. 7 in Chicago for felony murder in connection with Guffie’s death, Amelia Huffman, who is now head of Minneapolis Police Homicide Division, said in an e-mail.