Cellphone thief should have kept running

A 20-year-old Minneapolis man’s theft of cellphones from a display area of the Bloomington Target store was initially successful, but the getaway proved to be his undoing.

The suspect was arrested June 29 following a search across the freeway from the Target store. Although the suspect was apprehended, his driver fled the area and has not been arrested.

Police officers were called to Target shortly before 8 p.m. after store security personnel witnessed the suspect cutting cords to electronic devices on display and placing the items in his waistband. The suspect is accused of cutting cords to an iPhone and a Samsung mobile phone and attempting to cut loose an iPad, as well. But he was unable to do so and slammed the iPad down, damaging it, before fleeing the store, according to Bloomington Deputy Chief Denis Otterness.

The incident was observed, and verified, through store surveillance video. The suspect ran from the store before store security personnel could confront him, but a description of the suspect’s getaway vehicle was provided, Otterness noted.

The getaway vehicle was spotted by a patrol officer who was unable to catch up to it prior to the driver pulling into a driveway on the 3000 block of west 78th Street, where the suspect and his driver fled on foot, Otterness said.

Officers set up a perimeter around the neighborhood and tracked the suspect to the backyard of a residence on the 2900 block of West 78th Street, where he was hiding behind a shed. A search of his path of travel turned up cellphones in the backyard of a home near where the duo fled their vehicle. Both phones had security devices attached to them, according to Otterness.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of felony theft, possession of shoplifting gear, criminal damage to property and fleeing a police officer on foot. The phones were valued at $1,000 each, Otterness noted.

The driver, described as a black male in his 20s, wearing black pants and a black and gray shirt, was not located, he added.

Not speedy enough

A 27-year-old Lindstrom, Minnesota, man briefly fled the scene of a traffic stop and was booked for a variety of charges.

The suspect’s vehicle was initially stopped for speeding shortly after 4 p.m. July 4. A patrol officer was checking vehicle speeds by radar near the intersection of Normandale Boulevard and Northwood Ridge, where construction has reduced the speed limit to 35 miles per hour, according to Otterness.

The suspect’s vehicle registered 45 mph on the officer’s radar gun as it traveled southbound. She also noticed that his vehicle had a severely cracked windshield, Otterness noted.

The officer pulled the suspect’s vehicle over near the intersection of Normandale Boulevard and Poplar Bridge Road. While speaking with the suspect, the officer noticed the odor of marijuana. She questioned him about it, and he said he was a former marijuana smoker. Despite his claim, the officer called for assistance in preparation to conduct a search of his vehicle, given probable cause, Otterness explained.

The officers prepared to search the vehicle and asked the suspect if there was anything noteworthy inside the vehicle. He appeared nervous and said there was marijuana in the vehicle. The officer opened the man’s door in asking him to step out, but the suspect instead pulled away while the officer was standing alongside the vehicle. She was jarred forward, but was able to remove her hand from the door handle as the vehicle pulled away. She sustained a minor cut to a finger as a result, Otterness said.

A short pursuit ensued as the suspect drove southbound. He turned west onto Hyland Greens Drive, north on Briar Road and did not stop for a stop sign at the intersection of Briar Road and 98th Street. He turned onto 98th Street and pulled over, however, where he was arrested without incident, according to Otterness. The pursuit was 1.3 miles, he said.

A search of the suspect and his vehicle turned up $2,495 in cash, mostly in $20 bills, a heat-sealed bag of marijuana, as well as a smaller bag of marijuana, and a digital scale. The combined weight of the marijuana, including packaging, was approximately 52 grams, Otterness noted.

The suspect’s vehicle and cash are being held, pending forfeiture, he added.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of speeding, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, fourth-degree assault of a police officer, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Burglary thwarted

A 25-year-old woman with no permanent address was arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage to property.

Police officers were dispatched to Metro Self Storage, 6200 W. Old Shakopee Road, at approximately 6 p.m. July 5 for a report of a possible burglary in progress. The reporting party said a woman had used bolt cutters to cut a hole in the fence of the secure storage facility, according to Otterness.

Officers responding to the report saw a woman inside the facility wearing dark pants and a gray sweatshirt, although the woman quickly disappeared. Upon investigation of the property, they found a hole in the fence approximately four feet long and personal items on the ground near the hole, in the name of the suspect, Otterness said.

The suspect was located at the nearby Hampshire Hills apartment complex. She wasn’t wearing the gray sweatshirt, but it was located in a trash can at the storage facility, Otterness noted.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of burglary and criminal damage to property.

Employee theft

An 18-year-old Bloomington woman was arrested on suspicion of theft from her employer, T.J. Maxx.

Police officers were dispatched to the store, 7982 Southtown Center, during the evening of July 5. A loss prevention officer met with the officers and reported that the employee had been under investigation for an unusual pattern of returns she was processing at the store. Surveillance of the suspect showed that she would take receipts left behind by customers, process them for returns and pocket the cash, Otterness explained.

Prior to calling the police, the store’s loss prevention officer observed a $500 return that the suspect had made, the cash from which was in her possession when being questioned, Otterness said.

The store’s loss prevention officer was able to substantiate losses in excess of $1,600, resulting in the suspect’s arrest for felony theft, Otterness noted.

Missing man

The Bloomington Police Department’s search for a missing 77-year-old man ended when he was found safe in Minneapolis.

The man has dementia and was reported missing from his residence near the intersection of 88th Street and 18th Avenue. He was presumed to have walked away, and had been last seen during the morning of July 5, according to Bloomington Deputy Chief Mike Hartley.

The Bloomington Fire Department and Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the search for the man on July 6. He was located that evening in Minneapolis and was transported to his family by Minneapolis police officers, Hartley reported.


Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.