When Nancy Hochschild heard the sound of a package sliding across concrete last year, she thought FedEx was delivering to her St. Paul home. It was the opposite. She looked out a window to see a man stealing a just-delivered box from her door step. Hochschild grabbed her cellphone and quickly snapped photos of the thief as he left. She then posted them to every neighborhood St. Paul Facebook group she could think of. The man was eventually caught. The experience made Hochschild consider: What if there was a central Facebook page where people in St. Paul could share information about crime? Hochschild, who grew up listening to the police scanner, created the Saint Paul Police and Fire Calls Followers group on Facebook one year ago. She and others post, in real time, what they’re hearing on the scanner. Following calls on the police scanner has long been a hobby for some. Using social media to share what they hear has become more common in recent years. And experts wonder if … [Read more...] about St. Paul police-scanner Facebook group aims for safety — but is it changing crime perceptions?
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DULUTH, Minn. — William Grahek called his father on Feb. 14, 2017. The University of Minnesota Duluth student and U.S. Army Reservist said was planning to join the military full time. Twenty minutes later, Jon and Heidi Grahek received another phone call. They learned that their eldest son had been shot inside his home. An hour after that, a third phone call. The 22-year-old had died of his injuries. “Children are not supposed to die before their parents,” Heidi Grahek told a judge Thursday in Duluth. “Especially not in such a violent and senseless way.” Heidi Grahek was the lone family representative to address the court Thursday as the first two defendants were sentenced in her son’s death. Jon Grahek, a St. Paul police sergeant, died of cancer in January. “He fought as hard as he could,” she said, backed by rows of family members in the Duluth courtroom, “but he did not have the strength after the loss of Will.” The … [Read more...] about Siblings sentenced in slaying of UMD student who was son of St. Paul police officer
A man stole an idling Metro Mobility bus in St. Paul and drove it about three miles before he was stopped and arrested, according to police. There were no clients on the bus, which provides public transportation for riders who have a disability or health condition. The driver told police he parked the bus at the SuperAmerica gas station at West Seventh Street and Otto Avenue and went inside to use the restroom, leaving the bus unlocked and running, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman. A dispatcher informed responding officers that the bus’ GPS was being tracked and it showed the bus was eastbound on Shepard Road. Officers caught up with the bus as it was about to turn left onto Eagle Street, Ernster said. Police arrested Vladimir Nestor Rodriguez Jr., 29, of Minneapolis. The Ramsey County attorney’s office charged him Tuesday with motor-vehicle theft. Rodriguez didn’t talk to an investigator, “but he asked why he (had) been arrested … [Read more...] about Thief nabs idling bus, but GPS thwarts his getaway, St. Paul police say
St. Paul police asked for the public’s help Tuesday to identify a man suspected of robbing the same gas station at gunpoint three times in a five-month span. The man has pointed a gun at employees of a West Side SuperAmerica and threatened to shoot them, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman. The cases occurred at the SA at Smith Avenue and Stevens Street. Each time, the robber ran away by heading west on Stevens Street. On April 8 at 9 a.m., officers were called to the gas station and told a man entered the store wearing a half-faced ski mask. The man held a silver handgun in his right hand and a black plastic bag in his left hand. He demanded money from the clerk and ran away with the cash. On Jan. 16 at 10 p.m., a man entered the gas station holding a silver gun. He grabbed an employee and pushed her toward a register, telling her, “I want the money. Hurry up or I’ll shoot you,” according to Ernster. He also threatened to shoot another clerk. … [Read more...] about St. Paul police seek help identifying armed man suspected of robbing same gas station three times
St. Paul police officials have asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to review a complaint the department received about the Ramsey County sheriff’s residency at the time he took office. Bob Fletcher, who was previously Ramsey County sheriff and is now Vadnais Heights mayor, asked St. Paul police on Monday to conduct a criminal investigation into Sheriff Jack Serier under a Minnesota statutue regarding “illegally assuming” public office. The police department turned the case over to the BCA on Wednesday “to avoid any conflict of interest,” said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman. Serier is a St. Paul police employee on loan to the sheriff’s office and Fletcher previously worked for the police department. Fletcher’s complaint includes details that he says shows Serier remained a resident of Stillwater after he became sheriff in January 2017. Elected officials in Minnesota must maintain residency where they serve. … [Read more...] about St. Paul police turn over complaint about sheriff’s residency to BCA