A man suspected of burglarizing the Gnome Craft Pub in St. Paul in late January — and who is believed to be responsible for up to six other break-ins in recent months — was arrested Friday.
Ramsey County deputies arrested Earl Robert Neal York, 57, who was sitting inside a vehicle on the 100 block of Acker Street after a St. Paul police investigator identified him as the person suspected of breaking into the Cathedral Hill pub on Jan. 24. The Ramsey County Attorney's Office charged York with third-degree burglary on Friday.
In the criminal complaint, authorities called York a "career criminal."
York has at least 23 prior felony convictions.
York is also alleged to have burglarized two other St. Paul businesses, Kayan Spice Market at 691 Dale St. and Mississippi Market on 1500 W. 7th St.
In those cases, when an investigator showed him photos from the series of burglaries, York said the person in the photos looks like him, but he goes into many stores and couldn't remember the details. He also said he has "mental health issues."
It was not immediately clear if the man was also suspected in a second burglary at the Gnome Sunday night. In that case, somebody burst through the back door and made off with the eatery's safe, owner Brian Ingram said in a Facebook video that has been viewed more than 65,000 times.
Ingram said it was the fifth burglary at his multiple restaurants over the past few months.
"It will bring some relief if they are actually prosecuted," Ingram said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune Friday after learning of the arrest. "They are career criminals that have been arrested numerous times and are being released within 24 hours. We are seeing folks that know how to get in and out of businesses and homes in under 4 minutes and are using this trying time to beat the system."
St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders said the suspect may be responsible for break-ins dating to November 2020.
"It's amazing how much damage one person can do," Linders said. "I'm happy we identified him and worked with our [law enforcement] partners to get him into custody."
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768