At about 12:30 PM on November 22, when most civilized Americans were tucking into their Thanksgiving turkey or vegetarian alternative, a citizen on Hillside Avenue North saw a group of seven young people advance in formation upon the house of an elderly female neighbor.
At first, it was thought the group was just disrespectfully cutting through the middle of the block. Mr Next Door Neighbor made a remark to his wife about how this kind of thing was upsetting and he was going to say something to the group...
"Oh, leave them alone," the wife said, or words to that effect.
But the group had been walking so defiantly, with such exaggerated swagger, that Mr. Neighbor took it personally and wasn't letting it go. He was long ago at his limit with uncivil behavior on the block, and he was going to catch up with the group and tell them NOT to be cutting through the elderly woman's yard. Out upon his back porch in stocking feet, the neighbor saw the group had grabbed a chair from the neighbor's yard and placed it at the back door. One of the group stood on the chair, grabbed ahold of an overhanging rain eve like he was hanging on monkey bars, and used his feet to kick out the window of the back door.
Like a group of acrobats, the entire group of seven poured through the window inside the house; a sort of Cirque Du Soleil after the downfall of western civilization.
Mr. Neighbor's wife walked out on the porch and witnessed the last three go inside.
Incredibly, Mr. Neighbor had his camera and snapped this picture while all three were inside. You can actually see the broken glass on the steps.
"Call 911!" Mr. Neighbor said, and ran to see if he could get a better view of what was going on in the house. He didn't know if the elderly home owner was being murdered at that moment and feared the worst. Meanwhile, Mr. Neighbor could hear his wife inside having trouble with 911. The wife was pouring out a torrent of information along the lines of COME HERE RIGHT NOW THEY ARE ALL INSIDE THE HOUSE, WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? JUST GET OVER HERE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!!!!
Mr. Neighbor told his wife to hang up and HE would call 911. He sent his wife across the street to enlist the aid of a burly neighbor. This is NOT how to make a 911 call, but people were "acting in the moment," you might say. Mr. Neighbor is quite accustomed to calling 911 and knew how to download the requested info rapidly to fit with the "script" the operators follow. Meanwhile, the wife managed to find Mr. Burly, who was wearing superhero pajamas. Which superhero it was she doesn't remember, but he's partial to the Marvel superheroes, this I know.
Mr. Neighbor linked up with Mr. Burly in pajamas, (Spiderman, maybe?) and placed the front of the house under direct observation, planning to give the police an update by phone. One of the kids in the house opened the front door and could see Mr. Burly out front. The sight of an angry neighbor made the seven burglars in the house nervous. The burglars did not emerge from the house right away. They were probably debating what to do in a heated panic. In that precious little space of time while the neighbors had the burglars trapped inside the house, at least one police officer arrived and was spotted between the houses, his gun out.
At that point, the young burglars started pouring out of the house. Mr. Neighbor's wife shouted "They're coming out the back!" Four ran out the front, (First two, then another two, splitting up and going in opposite directions) and two went out the back. One opened a side window and ran. Police gave chase and began scooping up the suspects like commercial fisherman netting mackerel. In fact, police managed to capture six of the seven suspects. It appears one suspect who ran out the front door, who didn't seem to be any older than 10, got away. Burly chased two suspects some distance but he's not built for chase so much as crushing things. (Incredible Hulk pajamas, maybe?)
Mr. Neighbor saw one police officer execute a textbook perfect takedown, seemingly throwing the car into park as he was going out the door. The door of the car flew open, then jolted back into the closed position but the officer was already out and running, grabbing the suspect by an arm. The suspect seemingly allowed himself to go down as soon as he felt the long arm of the law grabbing his own arm, which was the short arm of criminality.
Mr. Neighbor had been running behind them the whole time, yelling "STOP THEM! STOP THOSE KIDS." As the police officer took down the kid, Mr. Neighbor helpfully yelled, "STOP RESISTING! STOP RESISTING ARREST!"
The police officer straddled the kid and had cuffs on so fast it looked like a magic trick. The suspect no longer had all the swagger and bravado the group had first displayed when walking up to the house. Now he was beaten, compliant, defeated. But Mr. Neighbor was full of triumphant energy and had a few things to say to the suspect. He also had a few pictures to take, including the one at the top of this blog post but also these.
The first thing Mr. Neighbor said to the suspect was a question, "What's your name?" The suspect said, "I'm not going to tell you my name. I'll tell the po-lice, I'm not going to tell you."
The police officer was smiling, not saying anything, just letting this back and forth take place as he walked the suspect. The quotes below are all approximate.
"So you and your friends planned this? Did you plan to go into this house?" Mr. Neighbor continued.
"I'm not talking to you," the suspect answered.
"Oh, so you're a tough guy, now?"
Mr. Neighbor laid into him. Was this how they thought it would go down? Did they have a plan for getting out of jail, too? The day didn't go as planned, did it? They thought they'd be "splitting the booty," huh? That wasn't going to happen, though, was it? Far from hiding his involvement out of a vague fear of retaliation, Mr. Neighbor proclaimed that he, personally, had called 911 on the young man's ass.
"Get out of my business," the suspect said.
"YOUR BUSINESS IS CRIMINAL!" Mr. Neighbor said. "This is my block, this is my neighborhood, THAT IS MY NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE. You better believe this is my business!"
Mr. Neighbor asked if the young man wasn't getting enough adult attention at home or what? The suspect seemed to go into a physical fit of temper, almost convulsive anger while cuffed, nearly growling his rage. The police officer, who was searching the young man's pockets at that moment, had to help the suspect "readjust his focus on remaining still."
"Oooooooh!" exclaimed Mr. Neighbor. "Do we have anger issues? Is it because we got caught? Or because we don't get enough adult attention?"
The suspect went away to his not-so-happy, but rather quiet place.
The police secured the suspects in cars and and "cleared" the residence, which was empty. In fact, it was Mr. Burly who could relieve everybody's mind and let it be known the elderly neighbor was out of town. Later, neighbors learned at least two backpacks were found in the area by police, apparently gear that was jettisoned as the suspects tried to flee.
Neighbors were pouring into the street at the spectacle, and could hear the sound of Mr. Neighbor's booming voice lecturing one of the suspects. Other neighbors (the more thuggy variety) stayed back, stayed on porches, and observed with little shakes of the head.
So now it was time for identifications. Two of the suspects had been collared by a female officer (pictured below) who caught them over by the Boys and Girls Club when she came upon two boys walking, quite out of breath. When she pulled over, one pointed to the other and said, "He did it." She arrested them both.
In the photo below, you can see the backpack and distinctive pink-tinged TC hat which helped Mr. Neighbor make an identification of the suspect. Word leaked out the young man was from a foster home in Woodbury, home in North Minneapolis on a holiday pass. He sat in the squad car and wept inconsolably in his pretty pink hat.
One by one, the suspects were marched out and identified, then placed back in squad cars after a few pithy remarks along the lines of this not being their lucky day. In the midst of this, a stepdad for two of the boys showed up. He looked very angry, but the neighbors had a feeling he was angry at THEM, not the kids. Some young boys showed up who said they were going to play basketball, and identified one of the kids in the squad car as a brother.
"Don't talk to them," said the stepdad, sharply. "Don't say anything."
City Council Member Don Samuels came upon the scene and was urged by neighbors to talk to one of the kids. The interaction with Samuels was not captured in photos or video. A damn shame.
"Community lecture?" one of the police asked, as Samuels approached. The council member and head of the Public Safety Committee affirmed that, yes, it was time for that. The police officer took one young man out of the car and stood him up to receive his official expression of disappointment by the village that was endeavoring to raise this child, with little to no cooperation from the child himself.
Don spoke to the young man like the father the boy apparently never had, a sort of appointed spiritual parent.
"I'm disappointed in you," Don said. "Is this what you think it means to be a man? Well, I will have you know being a man means PROTECTING people. PROTECTING women. PROTECTING children. PROTECTING them, not breaking into their houses. You need to take some time to think about what you've done. You've disappointed me. You've disappointed this community. Your mother and father would be disappointed in you right now..."
Because you got caught.
No, Don didn't say that, that was added sarcastically by this blogger. But is it really sarcasm? Or is it the actual ugly truth?
Word is the suspects were also involved (allegedly) in an attempt to break into 1522 Hillside Ave. N., an empty mansion which reportedly has been considered for renovation by Nicole Curtis, television's Rehab Addict. Allegedly, they also attempted to break into a house on 22nd Ave. N. but were not successful.
All in all, this sordid incident was a fiasco for the young people involved. Both neighbors and police felt a sense of triumph, however, at the apprehension of the suspects. Holidays have often presented a window of opportunity for burglaries in North Minneapolis but not this time. This was a case of WE WATCH, WE CALL, WE GIVE CHASE, AND WE ARE RIGHT IN YOUR FACE WITH A HIGH DEFINITION CAMERA SO WATCH FOR DETAILS ON THE BLOGOSPHERE.
Though it is not necessary, I would like to add these photos of juvenile suspects were taken on public sidewalks and streets and I have a perfect legal right to publish the images. The war. I blame the terrible war for making me cold hearted. (Sarcastic eye roll)
In fact, I will take things a step further and ask that anybody who can tell me the names of these suspects and their parents please forward that information and, if I can confirm it, I will publish it.
God bless the Fourth Precinct and thank you for keeping the Northside safe on Thanksgiving.