The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum was closed from late Tuesday morning until early afternoon after a female runner reported seeing a naked man with a hatchet on the grounds.
The shutdown ended about 12:30 p.m. once several law enforcement agencies “extensively looked [and] no one was found,” said arboretum spokeswoman Susie Hopper.
During the closure, the arboretum kept anyone from coming in, while employees and anyone else on the grounds could leave, Hopper said.
Carver County sheriff’s deputies were joined in the search of the 1,200-acre property by officers of the state Department of Natural Resources and the Chaska Police Department for the man who aroused the suspicions of a runner on a trail about 8:30 a.m., Hopper said.
The man was first spotted about 7:45 a.m. and “was not wearing any clothes and had a hatchet in his hand,” according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. The woman saw him again shortly after 9 a.m., this time wearing black athletic shorts and a gray T-shirt, and she called 911 to report the incident.
The man was seen by arboretum staff about that same time holding a small wireless speaker in one hand and a cellphone in the other, the statement continued.
He was described by authorities as white, in his 50s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, roughly 300 pounds, with salt-and-pepper hair.
As of now, the Sheriff’s Office is classifying this as a misdemeanor indecent exposure case.
There was every possibility that the man had already left the grounds, given “there are several” ways off the property, Hopper said before the all-clear was issued.
“That easily could have happened,” she said. “We think he may have already run right out of here.”
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 952-361-1212 during regular hours or at 952-361-1231 during nights and weekends. Anonymous tips can be called in at 952-361-1224.