St. Paul neighborhood hit by burglaries

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2007 - 12:53 AM

A thief entered houses in the Mounds Park area through windows or unlocked doors. A suspect is in custody.

At one home, the burglar stole potato chips and Gatorade but was foiled in his effort to get away with a frozen pizza.

At another, he took a laptop computer and Proactiv acne solution.

“We call him the 'pimply-faced bandit,’” said Dawn Pape, who was on a weekend getaway with her new husband when their home was invaded.

Cebrian O. Sims, 19, of St. Paul, was charged this week in Ramsey County District Court with burglarizing eight homes in St. Paul’s Mounds Park area. He faces four counts of felony second-degree burglary.

There have been 19 burglaries in the area since July 1, according to court documents, and police said Sims is a suspect in many of them.

He allegedly got into the eight homes described in the criminal complaint by cutting a screen and climbing through an open window or through an unlocked door.

Dawn Pape and her husband of six months, Kevin, were at a bed-and-breakfast in Lanesboro, Minn., when neighbors who were watching their house called police July 21 to report that their home and the Papes’ home, both on McLean Avenue, had been burglarized.

“We had a great weekend, biked 60 miles, had some awesome food — and came home to find we’d been burglarized,” Pape said Friday. “I was scared, but I’m not going to let them scare me out of my beautiful old house.”

The laptop stolen from the Papes was found in a nearby Dumpster. Investigators found the Proactiv solution when they searched Sims’ apartment, a search warrant affidavit said.

“The officer informed me [Sims] was using it,” Dawn Pape said. “I didn’t really want to use it [after that].” The Papes have now installed window locks and other security measures.

Traci and Mike Schissel’s home on Mound Street was burglarized about 4:30 a.m. Aug. 17.

“We caught him in the act,” Traci Schissel said, noting he didn’t get the frozen pizza. But in addition to the potato chips, fruit snacks and Gatorade he took, he stole $6 and an iPod.

The burglary has made them “much more aware of what’s going on in the neighborhood,” she said. “You look at your house at night and wonder, 'Do I have enough lights in the back yard?’ You start evaluating your security.”

The Schissels plan to get more window lights and install more lighting.

According to the complaint against Sims, a flat-screen TV and DVD player were stolen from a home on Short Street on July 27; a satellite radio, money and a cell phone were taken from a home on Maria Avenue on Aug. 14, and three other homes nearby were burglarized Aug. 17.

Like the Proactiv, the stolen TV was found in Sims’ apartment, the affidavit said.

Sims is being held in the Ramsey County jail.

Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551

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