Two Twin Cities men allegedly broke into the old Ford plant in St. Paul to steal scrap metal, according to charges filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.
Todd E. Uhlenkott, 26, of Minneapolis, and Shawn J. Bishop, 37, of Bloomington, allegedly worked together to burglarize the shuttered plant, charges allege. They are each charged with second-degree burglary and third-degree burglary.
Burglaries at the nonfunctioning plant at 966 S. Mississippi River Blvd. have gotten so bad that trail cameras were set up to catch thieves, said the complaints filed against Uhlenkott and Bishop.
According to the charges: A contractor working at the site told police on Tuesday that he saw two men inside a building standing next to metal. The men fled when they saw the contractor.
Police stopped Uhlenkott and Bishop walking along Mississippi River Boulevard. The men were about 80 feet apart and matched the contractor’s description of the burglars, the charges said.
Bishop told police he was looking for help because his car had broken down. Uhlenkott told police he was out for a walk. The men were arrested and identified by the contractor, the complaint said.
Officers found two sets of footprints that led from a wooded area to the back fence of the Ford plant and through the plant’s yard, the charges allege.
Trail cameras set up to deter “numerous burglaries” at the plant allegedly caught images of the two men using a torch on Monday to cut metal, the charges said. A photo from Dec. 14 allegedly captured Bishop’s image.
Police also found that the two men allegedly had made multiple trips starting Nov. 1 to Metro Metals to sell scrap copper and brass, the charges said.
The men declined to speak with police in custody.
Both have criminal records that include theft-related convictions.