Saturday, March 31, 2012
Duluth MN police chase burglary suspect into cold Lake Superior
A 63-year-old grandmother couldn’t get the burglar, but a cold Lake Superior did.
A police foot chase Friday morning in the Congdon Park neighborhood of Duluth ended with a 36-year-old suspect jumping into the lake just before noon after facing a feisty woman at the house he allegedly broke into. She confronted him in the home and pursued him in her stocking feet before stopping a car and getting the driver to call 911 about 10:30 a.m.
The suspected burglar ended up losing most of the items he had taken from the home, including two flat-screen televisions and other electronic gear, the woman said.
Police set up a perimeter in the area and then heard a report of a man matching the suspect’s description nearing the Lakewalk at the London Road tunnel. He had put some of the stolen items in a trash bin while fleeing the home in an attempt to transport them, the woman said.
An officer then spotted the man on the 2700 block of London Road. The suspect ran down to the Lakewalk and jumped into Lake Superior. Officers didn’t have to wade in to apprehend him.
“They ordered him out, and he listened,” police Information Officer Jim Hansen said. The suspect had been struggling in the water, he said.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous in fear of her safety, has been living at her son’s house on Branch Street in the Congdon Park neighborhood. She and her husband moved to Duluth from Australia a few months ago.
She had a harrowing tale to tell Friday night.
“The police said to not attempt to stop someone in the future,” she said.
She came home from a shopping trip with her 17-month-old grandson and noticed that a bathroom light was on. Curious, she went to the room and found “glass from one end to the other.”
She then heard footsteps upstairs and made her way up with the baby. The suspect was exiting a bedroom, she said, with a plastic bin of household items and a backpack.
“I said ‘no, no, no,’ you’re not taking that,” she told the News Tribune. He pushed past her and the baby and made his way downstairs to the front door, she said.
She put the baby down and followed. She said he turned around at the door and she grabbed him by the jacket and told him to drop the items.
“He said his daughter was a drug addict and he needed the money,” she said.
She said she then swore at him.
“I wasn’t afraid of him,” she said.
Her adrenaline was pumping and she said her days as a nurse dealing with all kinds of people kicked in.
She hurt her hand slightly when falling back into a wall, she said.
There was another tussle just outside the door and then the man ran across the street and to the back yards of neighboring homes, she said. That’s where he found the trash bin and began pulling it behind him, she said.
She gave up the chase and flagged down the car.
Her son, who was on his way out of state for a wedding, returned to Duluth on Friday.
The grandmother later identified the man who police found in the lake as the same man who was in the home.
The suspect will be charged with first-degree burglary and is in the St. Louis County Jail.
Because of the brazen nature of the break-in, police said they expect to find out about other crimes in interviews with the suspect.
Earlier this week, police issued an alert about increased home burglaries in the East Hillside neighborhood.
The woman said she doesn’t harbor any fear about crime in her new country.
“It happens everywhere,” she said.