A 27-year-old St. Paul man was arrested on suspicion of assault following an incident involving the mother of his children in her Bloomington apartment.

The 23-year-old victim had an order for protection against the suspect, who is accused of strangling the woman inside her apartment on the 8000 block of 12th Avenue, according to Bloomington Police Cmdr. Damon Bitney.

Police officers were dispatched to the apartment complex at approximately 10:20 p.m. Nov. 23. Upon arrival, officers found both the victim and the suspect in the parking lot, separated and among others who had gathered with them, Bitney said.

The victim reported that she was with the suspect in her apartment, and their discussion turned into an argument. When the suspect began to assault her, she fled to her bathroom for safety, but the suspect broke down the door, grabbed her by the head and pushed her head into the sink, threatening to kill her. The victim said she feared for her life and could not breathe when the suspect grabbed her around the neck, Bitney explained.

Officers at the scene noted that the woman had a swollen lip and marks on the back of her neck and that the couple’s children were present during the incident, he added.

The victim said that the suspect ended his assault and walked away, allowing her to flee the apartment and seek help. She then waited with family members until officers responded to the report, Bitney said.

The suspect was arrested at the scene and booked on suspicion of domestic assault and violating an order for protection.

Turning the tables

A 24-year-old Minneapolis woman called the Bloomington Police Department for help after she accepted counterfeit currency during the sale of a laptop computer.

A police officer was dispatched to the parking area of IHOP, 2231 Killebrew Drive, at approximately 9 p.m. Nov. 26. They met with a woman who reported that she was waiting to meet the man who purchased the computer from her three days earlier in Minneapolis, Bitney explained.

The woman showed the officer the Facebook ad she placed to sell the computer and the profile of the man who purchased it. The woman accepted $500 for the computer but did not immediately realize that he paid her with counterfeit currency. She learned that the bills were counterfeit when she tried to spend the money the following day, Bitney said.

Upon learning that she accepted counterfeit currency, the woman did her own investigating and determined that the suspect, a 24-year-old Bloomington man, was trying to sell her laptop. She used another person’s profile to set up a purchase from the suspect and called the police from the parking lot prior to the suspect’s arrival, according to Bitney.

After reviewing the woman’s evidence, the officer began surveillance of the parking lot, waiting for the suspect to arrive. Upon identifying the vehicle, the officer made contact with the driver to question him about the woman’s report. As the officer approached the vehicle, he could see what appeared to be marijuana on the passenger’s seat of the vehicle. The officer had the suspect step out of his vehicle at that point, and noticed that there was a gun between the door and the driver’s seat, Bitney explained. The gun turned out to be a BB gun, he noted.

The suspect consented to a search and was in possession of 11 counterfeit $100 bills, resulting in his arrest, Bitney said.

A check of the suspect’s criminal history showed that he has a history involving counterfeit currency possession and theft by swindle, including an arrest for an incident three days prior, Bitney noted.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of theft by swindle and possession of counterfeit currency.

Victims of online fraud are encouraged to document the details of the transaction and to call the police upon doing so rather than setting up their own sting and calling the police for assistance prior to the suspect’s arrival. The Minneapolis woman had no way of knowing that the suspect was carrying a gun and was potentially setting herself up to be a victim again if an officer was not immediately available to respond to her call, Bitney explained.

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

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