State Fair booth burglary nets thieves about $24,000

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 29, 2012 - 6:11 AM

Two men are accused of stealing from French Meadow.

Charges are expected Wednesday against two suspects in a Friday burglary at the French Meadow Bakery & Cafe booth at the Minnesota State Fair, authorities say.

Chris Gleize, who operates the booth with his wife, told State Fair police that someone stole about $24,000 from an office safe that the booth's night manager inadvertently left unlocked, a search warrant states.

According to the warrant, two men could be seen on surveillance video entering the rear of the business on Carnes Avenue about 10:30 p.m. One man uses a tool to apparently open the office door, and then goes inside. The suspects eventually leave after loading something into bags that they were carrying, the warrant states.

The suspects were in the booth for about 13 minutes.

State Fair police were able to identify the men after Chief Art Blakey Jr. viewed the video and said that he recognized the suspect who opened the office door as a member of a St. Paul family whose last name he knew. A State Fair police investigator -- who also works as a St. Paul police sergeant -- then came up with a full name by matching the suspect's description with past booking photos.

The investigator also searched police records for the suspect's past associates and found a booking photo for a 50-year-old man who matched the description of the second suspect in the video. That second man was arrested on Monday in Pine County. He allegedly told State Fair police that he and the other man were in the bakery booth. But he denied taking anything and said that he did not know what the other suspect had placed inside a bag before the men left.

A search of the second man's St. Paul apartment uncovered currency in the amounts of $4,160, $1,100, $2,680, and $378 in various parka/jacket pockets and $1,050 in a red bag in a dresser drawer.

Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the Ramsey County attorney's office, said Tuesday that police have presented a case to the office for consideration of charges, and that charges are expected to filed against both suspects on Wednesday morning.

Anthony Lonetree • 612-875-0041

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