A tricycle-pedaling thief has been arrested, accused of breaking into a St. Paul woman’s garage and stealing a backpack from her car that contained a photocopied check or checks totaling $8 million from a private company, authorities said Tuesday.
Xcel Energy acknowledged that the paperwork stolen Monday was from its company, but the utility declined to say anything more, including how many photocopied checks were involved or whether Xcel was the issuer or the recipient.
“We’re looking into this situation” from a company security standpoint, said Xcel spokeswoman Patti Nystuen. “At this point, I can’t speculate on what that will involve.”
The suspect, a 35-year-old man from South St. Paul, was nabbed near Chatsworth Street and Armstrong Avenue, no more than two hours after the Monday evening break-in and a few blocks southwest of where the theft occurred.
A police officer on routine patrol stopped the man after noticing that he was riding an adult-size tricycle that resembled one reported stolen in West St. Paul, said police Sgt. Paul Paulos.
The backpack, including a laptop along with the company documents, was recovered, police said. The photocopied check or checks included bank routing data, which can be valuable to potential thieves.
The backpack’s owner, Betsy Dullum, said she didn’t realize the items were missing until police showed up at her door.
“I would have freaked out,” Dullum said, if she had time to wonder about the backpack’s whereabouts. “Everything transpired within two hours.”
The man remains jailed on suspicion of burglary, identity theft and theft. His criminal ways in Minnesota began soon after he turned 18, with numerous convictions for auto theft, as well as burglary, receiving stolen property and theft.
As for the tricycle that the thief was riding, it turned out not to be the one that West St. Paul authorities were seeking, Paulos said. That trike was located Tuesday morning in another St. Paul neighborhood.