Duo accused of late night Mall of America robbery

Two men who claimed they were in a hurry to eat were arrested on suspicion of robbery outside Mall of America in Bloomington.

The duo was arrested shortly after a 40-year-old Brooklyn Center man reported being robbed as he was leaving a bar inside the mall at approximately 1:30 a.m. March 20, according to Bloomington Police Cmdr. Kim Clauson.

The victim said he was leaving a bar and walking to his vehicle when he was approached from behind and put in a choke hold. A second person appeared, and one of the two men pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. The victim reported being punched in the head before the duo fled the scene on foot, Clauson said.

The victim recognized one of the men from the bar, as he had bought the man a drink earlier in the evening, Clauson noted.

The victim provided a description of the men, and a police officer patrolling outside the mall observed two men who matched the description. They were running from the mall’s parking area, jumped a concrete barrier and fled across Killebrew Drive. The officer stopped the duo for questioning, and the men claimed they were heading to a restaurant after getting off of a bus at the mall, Clauson explained.

The men were detained as the victim was transported to the scene. He identified the men – a 26-year-old Burnsville man and a 26-year-old Richfield man – as the perpetrators of the robbery, resulting in their arrest. A search of the men found the victim’s wallet in one man’s pant leg, and one of the victim’s credit cards in his pocket, according to Clauson.

Both men were booked on suspicion of first-degree robbery, and the Burnsville man had an outstanding Sherburne County warrant.

Unwelcome men

Two adults and two juveniles were arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage to property following a phone call from the mother of the adults.

The adult brothers said they were playing basketball in Minneapolis during the evening of March 17 when they received a phone call from their mother, a 42-year-old Brooklyn Park woman, asking to be picked up in Bloomington, according to Clauson.

The woman had been staying with a 48-year-old Bloomington man at his apartment on the 9700 block of Blaisdell Avenue. The man’s landlord said he wasn’t allowed to have guests for an extended period of time, and the woman was upset that she needed to leave, Clauson said.

The woman’s sons – a 23-year-old Minneapolis man and a 21-year-old Richfield man – arrived at approximately 8:30 p.m. to pick up their mother. The Bloomington man didn’t want them to come into his apartment when they arrived, but they forced their way in, pushing the man out of the way. They were followed by two juveniles, a 16-year-old Richfield boy and a 14-year-old Minneapolis boy. The Bloomington man yelled at them to leave, but the Richfield man pushed him into the kitchen. He allegedly grabbed a knife and threatened the man while the others began taking the man’s property, Clauson explained.

The foursome and the Brooklyn Park woman then left the man’s apartment, taking a Sony PlayStation video game system, a Sony Sound Bar audio system and a crate of DVDs and CDs. The man called 911 to report the incident and followed the group to the parking lot, watching them drive off in a silver vehicle to the nearby Burger King restaurant, Clauson said.

Officers responding to the report found one of the juveniles standing near the parked vehicle identified by the victim. The other three males and the woman were walking along 97th Street. The Sony products, DVDs and CDs had been smashed on the ground, and all four males were arrested on suspicion of burglary and damage to property. The Brooklyn Park woman was not arrested, Clauson noted.

Shipping error

A 23-year-old Cape Coral, Florida, man was arrested on suspicion of forgery and financial transaction card fraud after he brought his equipment and products to a Bloomington shipping center.

The man brought a laptop computer, credit card skimmer, gift cards and credit cards bearing a variety of names to the store for packaging and shipping during the evening of March 22. The items weren’t concealed or packaged, however, as the man carried them all into the store in a large plastic bag.

The man was evasive in identifying himself, but provided a name and address to ship his items. The store employee noted that the man left in a gray van that had a Florida license plate on the rear bumper and no front license plate, according to Clauson.

The van was spotted late that evening in the parking lot of La Quinta Inn, 7815 Nicollet Ave., by a patrol officer. The unoccupied van was running, with its lights on. The officer waited until a man, who matched the description of the man from the shipping center, returned to the vehicle. The man was questioned by the officer and subsequently arrested on suspicion of fraud, Clauson said.

A search of the suspect and his vehicle turned up 23 credit cards in his pocket, as well as receipts from the shipping center, Clauson noted.

The man was staying at the nearby Microtel Inn & Suites, and his room was being held until a search warrant could be obtained, she added.

Arrest, repeat

A 48-year-old Lakeville man ran into legal trouble while he was staying at a Bloomington hotel, and was booked last week on suspicion of check forgery.

The man was staying at the Hilton hotel, 3900 American Blvd. W., on Jan. 17. He called the hotel and asked employees to package the contents of his room, as he had been in a car accident and was unable to return to the hotel to claim the contents of his room at the time, Clauson said.

The hotel’s management went to his room to do so, and it appeared that the man was manufacturing fraudulent checks, as there were multiple computers, printers and blank checks representing multiple accounts in his room, according to Clauson.

The hotel contacted the police department, and its investigation determined that the man had been arrested in Richfield for possession of counterfeit checks and stolen property when he called the hotel claiming to have been in a car accident, Clauson explained.

The man had already been released from custody following his arrest in Richfield, but he was located last week while driving a rental vehicle in Minneapolis. Bloomington investigators learned that he had rented a vehicle using a fraudulent driver’s license, and an alert for the vehicle was sent out to area police departments. When the vehicle was spotted in Minneapolis on March 21, the suspect was arrested and transferred to Bloomington for booking, Clauson said.

The suspect was in possession of suspected counterfeit checks at the time of his arrest and had an outstanding felony drug warrant, she added.

Comforts of home

An 18-year-old Bloomington man was arrested for burglary, accused of making himself at home.

A burglary was reported March 17 on the 8000 block of 13th Avenue. The last person to leave the house had left at 11 a.m., and the man’s brother returned at approximately 3:30 that day. The front and back doors of the house were unlocked and open, but there was no sign of forced entry. It appeared that a person had entered the house through an unlocked sliding door, Clauson said.

The perpetrator appeared to have taken a shower in the house, leaving his clothes in the bathroom garbage can. The perpetrator also appeared to have eaten food in the house, as milk and cookies had been left at the kitchen table. There were also indications the perpetrator drank wine, beer and soda inside the house. It appeared that the perpetrator had used the PlayStation video game system, and an iPad was missing, according to Clauson.

The perpetrator left behind two items that helped police officers identify him, a skateboard and cellphone. The phone contained pictures that had been posted to a Facebook account, and the photos showed a man wearing clothing that belonged to a resident of the home, and were taken in the living room of the house, Clauson explained.

The man was identified by police officers as a Bloomington resident they had recently arrested. A booking photo from the arrest was compared to the pictures on the cellphone to verify the perpetrator’s identity, Clauson said.

The man was arrested the following day after he was reported to be sleeping in the stairway of an apartment building on the 8700 block of Portland Avenue, Clauson noted.