Two people were arrested following a report of shoplifting and a foot chase at a Mall of America retail store.
An employee of Zumiez reported that at approximately 5:40 p.m. May 23 a juvenile male had stolen clothing from the store. He was with others at the mall and left the store with the stolen merchandise. A police officer patrolling the mall spotted a male matching the description provided by Zumiez within the mall, according to Bloomington Police Cmdr. Damon Bitney.
The officer asked the 17-year-old Minneapolis boy about his activity in the mall, and the boy replied that he didn’t have any clothing from Zumiez. During their conversation, a 21-year-old Mounds View man approached and claimed that the boy was his brother. The officer asked the man to step back, and he replied by claiming he didn’t have to follow the officer’s instructions, Bitney said.
When asked for his name, the boy initially gave a fake name. A check of the name didn’t show up as a valid identity. The officer noted that and asked the boy for an identification. Instead of providing an ID, the boy took off running toward the east parking ramp. He was tackled by pursuing police officers prior to reaching the skyway, but the boy was able to free himself, get up and continue running into the parking ramp. He was found hiding in the parking ramp, at which point he was arrested, Bitney explained.
The 21-year-old brother followed the chase into the parking ramp, during which time one of the officers noticed his body-worn camera had fallen off. A 39-year-old St. Paul woman had also followed the pursuit into the parking ramp and informed police officers that she had picked up the camera after officers tackled the boy and that the 21-year-old man attempted to take it from her. She fended him off, however, and turned the camera over to a mall security officer, Bitney noted.
Follow-up investigation of the woman’s report resulted in the 21-year-old man being arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery. The 17-year-old boy was cited for giving false information to a police officer, theft and fleeing a police officer. He was released to a guardian from the mall’s police station following the incident, Bitney said.
Deals gone bad
Attempts at selling merchandise through online ads didn’t go well for the victims in two incidents, both occurring during the evening of May 24.
A 21-year-old Minneapolis man reported that he had been robbed following an unusual sequence of events involving his attempt to sell two new iPhones.
The victim said he had been communicating with the perpetrator of the robbery through social media and arranged to meet the man that evening. He claimed he was picked up by the perpetrator, who had a female passenger, at approximately 8:40 p.m., Bitney said.
The perpetrator was driving a black Mercedes and claimed that he needed to drop the woman off in Bloomington. The victim didn’t explain why he went with the perpetrator instead of completing the sale in Minneapolis and reported that as they were driving through Bloomington, the perpetrator pulled out a black handgun, claimed he has used it in the past and demanded the victim’s two cellphones. The victim informed the man that he would hand them over at a public location, which turned out to be the parking lot of Cub Foods, 8421 Lyndale Ave., Bitney explained.
The incident remains under investigation.
Within minutes of the Minneapolis man’s call from Cub Foods, the police department received another robbery report.
An 18-year-old Mendota Heights man reported that he had been robbed at Smith Park, 8155 Park Ave., while attempting to sell a vaping device.
The suspect had flagged down a driver in the vicinity at approximately 8:45 p.m. and asked the driver to call the police. He reported that he had agreed to meet the buyer at the park. While waiting in his car, the perpetrator arrived in a black Nissan, exited the vehicle and approached the victim, still seated in his car. The victim reported that the perpetrator punched him in the face and took the vaping device from him. Another male subsequently exited the Nissan and approached the victim’s vehicle, taking a cellphone from the seat on the passenger’s side, Bitney explained.
Officers responding to the call noted that the victim appeared to have a swollen left eye, Bitney noted.
A 27-year-old Minneapolis man was arrested for fleeing in a motor vehicle, criminal damage to property and violating an order for protection after being accused of threatening to keep a 29-year-old woman’s vehicle.
The suspect was arrested during the evening of May 25 outside Mall of America. The woman reported that she has had an on-and-off relationship with the man and that he had driven her to work at the mall in her Toyota Prius, then left for the day with her vehicle. During his contact with her during the day, he reportedly threatened not to give her vehicle back, Bitney explained.
The woman and a co-worker consulted a mall security officer about the situation. The officer suggested they could file a stolen vehicle report, which they did, although the man eventually consented to picking the woman up at the mall. An officer was prepared to question the man when he arrived to pick up the victim and attempted a traffic stop as the man made his way into the mall. Instead of stopping, the suspect drove off, according to Bitney.
The pursuit didn’t last long, however, as the man pulled into a surface parking lot outside of Macy’s, parked and exited the vehicle. He was quickly apprehended by a police officer without incident, Bitney noted.
The man smelled of alcohol, and it appeared that he had vandalized the victim’s vehicle during the day. A key had been used to scratch her cellphone number into the paint of the Prius, and derogatory words had been scratched into the dashboard of the vehicle, Bitney said. Beer was also found in the vehicle, he added.
The woman claimed that she thought the order for protection against the suspect had expired, Bitney said.
Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.