Five cars stolen in U area

And despite 4/20, there was no bump in narcotics arrests on campus.

Nicholas Studenski

Police didn’t report more narcotics cases than usual on 4/20, a day often celebrated by smoking marijuana.

Minneapolis police public information officer John Elder said he didn’t notice an increase in narcotics-related crimes this year. Elder said the occurrence of Easter on the same day may have affected the number of incidents.

“I think people were doing a lot of stuff with family,” he said.

University of Minnesota police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said he typically doesn’t notice a narcotics increase on April 20. Though it can be difficult to monitor, Miner said, University police keep an eye out for marijuana during warmer months, particularly around campus “hot spots,” like residence halls.

Multiple car thefts and one arrest

University and Minneapolis police recorded at least five motor vehicle thefts in the area from last Wednesday through Saturday. Miner said the increase could be related to the warmer weather, but he noted that car thefts are also common in cold weather when owners leave vehicles running to warm them up.

University graduate student Maeve McClellan said she wasn’t aware that car thefts were common in the area until hers was stolen.

McClellan went to work at the Rural Health Research Center on Friday. When she left the building at about 1:45 p.m., she said, she noticed her car was missing, though she had seen it out the window a couple of hours earlier.

McClellan called 911 and spoke with University police. When she told officers her location — about a block east of campus on University Avenue Southeast — they redirected her to Minneapolis police, which she said was frustrating.

Miner said University police respond to off-campus calls in cases when time is an issue. When the crime has already been committed and the caller only needs to file a report, he said, they refer the case to Minneapolis police.

McClellan said security footage — which took still pictures every minute rather than record continuously — showed that the car was parked at 10:57 a.m. The next minute, she said, it showed the thief pulling out of the parking lot.

On Sunday, an officer observed a man looking into car windows at the intersection of 15th Avenue Southeast and Eighth Street Southeast. The officer identified the man by a Hennepin County Jail identification bracelet and cited him for lurking with intent to commit a crime.

Miner said it wasn’t clear whether the man was looking to break into the car to steal from it or to steal the car itself.

The man isn’t currently a suspect for any other crimes, Miner said. Police can sometimes identify suspects for car thefts with physical evidence, like fingerprints near the crime scene or in the recovered vehicle, he said.

While making a delivery to Yudof Hall on Thursday, Burrito Loco Bar and Grill deliveryman Cody Allen’s car was stolen. Allen said he left his car running outside, as he usually does. He was inside for no more than a minute or two, he said, but when he went back outside, his car was gone.

Allen called University police, and when they arrived, he found out that a purse had recently been stolen from Coffman Union. Allen said he thought the thief saw his “piece of junk” car and used it as a getaway vehicle.

The vehicle is a blue 1999 Chevrolet Prizm with a broken taillight covered in red duct tape, a severely damaged front hood and a Burrito Loco delivery sign on the roof.

Allen said the car was later found on the side of the highway and towed.

When he went to pick it up, the car’s engine had seized and wouldn’t start. Allen called his car a “delicate flower,” and he said the thief probably wrecked it by driving it too hard.

Because the car wouldn’t start, Allen said, he had to scrap it.