Yes, you have to pay even if you’re not hungry

South-West Review police reports Nov, 10, 2013

And: Smoking out the retail roles of ‘shady characters’

West St. Paul

—  The autumn of our discontent: a resident on the 1100 block of Stryker Ave. called police Nov. 4 to request an officer come by to watch his neighbor, whom he accused of blowing leaf piles into the street. An officer responded to the area and watched the home for a while, but saw no evidence of recent or imminent yard work. The reporting party called police again after the officer left and said the woman played it cool because she saw the squad car; however, unless police are willing to post an unmarked car on the street through daylight hours it seems the caller may have to wait for things to blow over.

Disturbing the peace
— Her eyes were bigger than her stomach (and wallet): police were called to a Lebanese restaurant on the 1300 block of Robert St. Nov. 4 after a woman declined to pay for her full order. According to the manager, the woman ordered a meal, ate, then ordered a second meal before deciding she was no longer hungry and therefore shouldn’t have to pay for the uneaten food. The customer, for her part, said she was upset because the manager yelled at her, which she considered bad customer service. Police mediated the issue by getting the customer to promise she would not come back to the restaurant.
— A manager at KFC called police Nov. 4 to ask for help with an unruly employee. The manager said the man was arguing loudly with another employee and swearing in front of the customers, so she instructed him to clock out and go home. The employee then turned his wrath upon the manager, but left before police arrived. The manager told police she didn’t foresee any problems with the man in the future as he was no longer employed at the restaurant.

— This one should probably be filed under “Who cares” instead of “Whodunit”: a resident called police from the 1000 block of Christensen Ave. Nov. 5 to report that she’d found two tree branches in her lawn. The woman said the branches could not possibly have come from one of her trees, and she suspected someone else had dumped them on her property. An officer responded to the home and found “two small branches,” so he picked them up and left.

Check welfare
— The public library provides many services, but providing patrons space to sleep off a bender isn’t one of them: librarians called police to Wentworth Library the morning of Nov. 5 after a man was found passed out and unresponsive at one of the computers. Police later cancelled a call for medics after determining the 31-year-old man was simply drunk; instead they arranged for his mother to pick him up.

Suspicious activity
— Sometimes the best police work takes place when there’s no crime to solve: police received a call from a 12-year-old girl on Stryker Ave. Nov. 5 who said an unknown man was knocking on her front door. The girl said she was frightened because her parents weren’t home, and she and her friend were hiding under the bed in her brother’s room. An officer responded to the scene and met with the stranger, who said he was simply trying to get the homeowner’s permission to park his car on the street for a while. The officer then gave the girl and her friend a ride to her grandmother’s house to ease their jitters.

— If the No. 1 rule of shoplifting is to avoid getting caught, the No. 2 rule should be “Don’t end up with a net loss” employees at Wal-Mart called police to report a shoplifter who had fled the store with meat from the grocery department; the employees chased him behind the store and into a wooded area behind Rainbow Foods. While the man escaped, the employees recovered the meat he’d stolen along with the shoplifter’s bike, which he left chained to a post in the heat of the chase.

— An employee at a liquor store on the 1600 block of Robert St. called police Oct. 31 to report a customer who nearly fell over in the store before tottering out to his car with the apparent intention of driving away. Fortunately, while the man’s brain may have been clouded by alcohol, his heart was made of gold: he stopped to jump another customer’s car, which took long enough for police to arrive and take him to detox.
— A customer at a gas station on the 1200 block of Robert St. called police Nov. 2 to report a heavily intoxicated man who stumbled off a bus and made several attempts to walk through traffic. It turns out this may not have been the first time the man drank more than he could handle: the responding officer found the man had a warrant out of Ramsey County for indecent exposure. He was arrested and transported to Ramsey County Jail.

Inver Grove Heights

Disorderly conduct
— Further evidence that smoking can be hazardous to your health: police were called to King of Diamonds Oct. 25 on a report of a brawl between patrons outside the club. Bouncers managed to separate and restrain the parties and provide police with a rundown on the situation. The customer they identified as the victim told police he was smoking a cigarette on the patio when two men approached him and accused him of looking at them funny. The men then began to shout insults, which quickly gave way to flying fists. Police cited the attackers for disorderly conduct and assault before transporting them to detox.

Auto theft
— A black 1992 Dodge Dakota was reported stolen from a used car lot on the 6400 block of Doffing Ave. Oct. 22. The vehicle was reportedly unlocked and the  keys were in the ignition at the time of the theft.

South St. Paul

Traffic stop
— Claiming you forgot to pay your tickets probably only works for the first 10 or so: an officer pulled over a vehicle on Seventh Avenue near Interstate 494 Nov. 4 after observing several haphazard swerves and lane changes without signaling. The driver apologized for her erratic maneuvers, saying she was trying to find Highway 61 and got confused. She also admitted her driver’s license was suspended. The officer then returned to her squad car to look up the driver in the DVS database; she learned that the license had been suspended since 2008, and in that time the woman had racked up 19 citations for driving conduct and failure to appear in court. It came as little surprise, then, when the officer found out the woman’s auto insurance had also lapsed. The woman was arrested at the scene and her vehicle was towed; another officer gave the woman’s passenger a ride home.

— Jack o’ lanterns are fun, but what if there were a way to bypass the messy carving process? A resident on the 600 block of Eighth Avenue called police Nov. 1 to complain that someone had stolen eight pumpkins from her front steps. The pumpkins were valued at $5 each and had been carved with traditional Halloween motifs such as witches and ghosts, as well as the “minion” characters from the film “Despicable Me.”

Drug activity
— An officer on patrol the night of Oct. 29 at the corner of 10th Avenue and Southview Boulevard spotted a vehicle rolling along without its headlights on and signaled the driver to pull over. Once stopped, the officer noted an overpowering odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and confronted the driver about it. She denied there was any in the car. The officer then asked her male passenger, who admitted he had “a little” weed in his backpack. The officer searched the pack and recovered three Mason jars and another smaller container with a total quantity of 41.4 grams of marijuana — 1.1 grams short of the felony mark. The driver was released at the scene and the man was taken back to the police station for questioning. The man denied he was a dealer, saying he’d accumulated such a quantity by opportunistic purchasing. “I see a shady character on the street and I buy marijuana from him,” he explained. Police confiscated the weed and $300 cash the man was carrying and released him with citations for possession and drug paraphernalia.

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