A 48-year-old man was charged Tuesday with being the well-dressed stranger who ambushed and stabbed a woman with a hunting knife as she was returning to her car in a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp one afternoon last week.
Robert J. Meyers, of Minneapolis, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with first-degree assault and attempted kidnaping.
Meyers' arrest followed his involvement in a third troubling incident downtown within a matter of hours, police said.
His 28-year-old victim survived the attack about 4 p.m. Thursday in the ramp at 800 Marquette Av. with a punctured liver and numerous defensive injuries to her hands. Her attacker was described by police as wearing a dark suit, blue shirt and carrying a black bag with a shoulder strap.
According to the criminal complaint:
In an interview with police the next day from the hospital, the woman said that Meyers came up from behind her as she placed items on the seat and put a hunting knife to her throat.
Meyers, his hand over her mouth, said they were going for a ride. But the woman bit his finger and kicked him. Meyers gave up and told the woman that she was lucky that she was a fighter.
The woman called 911 and then went down the ramp for help once she realized she was bleeding, collapsing as she approached the ramp's pay booth.
Officers found the woman's car and noted blood on the ground near the driver's-side door, on the trunk and inside on the front driver and passenger seats. They also obtained video surveillance showing Meyers at the ramp during the time of the attack.
Before the officers left the ramp, two managers from the nearby 8th Street Grill reported a man who approached another patron 30 minutes earlier about joining a fight club. The managers asked him to leave after he kept mentioning fighting and other violence.
Video surveillance from the area showed that the customer removed from the restaurant was the same person suspected in the ramp attack.
That same night, an off-duty police officer was alerted to a man having just stolen a woman's purse from a downtown bar, police said. The officer located Meyers and found on him a knife similar to what was used in the ramp attack and also recovered evidence linking him to the bar patron, police added.
Police sergeants interviewed witnesses, searched Meyers' downtown home and found bloodied clothing.
After his arrest, Meyers told police that he looks like the suspect in the surveillance video but had no memory of the incident. He added that he had been drinking that day and he would do "stupid things" when consuming alcohol.
Meyers, who was convicted of felony theft in 1995 in Hubbard County, remains held in lieu of $150,000 bail ahead of a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482