A Cold Spring family say they have spent months being terrorized by an alleged racist stalker, culminating this past weekend with him placing a chunk of granite on the accelerator of an SUV, and guiding it into their home.
Benton L. Beyer, 32, of Richmond, has been charged with theft, stalking and first-degree damage to property, all felonies, after the incident in the early hours of Saturday.
It happened in Stearns County town around 5:40 a.m., where Andrea Robinson lives with her husband and children. According to charges, Beyer stopped a stolen SUV in an intersection across the street and then placed the granite on the gas pedal to send the vehicle slamming into the Robinsons' home.
Inside the SUV was was a teddy bear hanging from a noose.
The family's Ring doorbell camera captured the moment.
One of the Robinsons' children was sleeping on a couch inside the home, very close to where the vehicle struck. The impact was strong enough to move a parked vehicle in the garage, also causing significant damage to the siding, sheetrock, the roof as well as the interior and exterior of the property.
Robinson told police that she is "terrified"of Beyer, who had an active harassment restraining order that mandated him from having any contact with Robinson for two years.
The restraining order was issued May 21, 2021. The criminal complaint states that Beyer has made 18 calls to Robinson in the past two months, in addition to being arrested July 15 in Waite Park "where he is alleged to have been following/stalking" her.
Robinson says Beyer had stalked her and her family for 83 days before being arrested. During these 83 days, she says her vehicle windows were smashed out twice, her doorbell camera shot at, she has received personal threats, and her Black husband has been the victim of false 911 calls. The charges do not state that Beyer was responsible for these incidents.
Robinson, who is white, says the harassment started after she raised complaints about the racism her children have had to deal with in the Rocori School District. She spoke at a May 17 school board meeting and requested the resignation of all school board members who she says failed to act after learning of racism within the district.
Bring Me The News has reached out to the school board for comment.
According to Robinson, the racism became overwhelming in December 2020 when a group of more than 50 children exchanged racist comments in a Snapchat group. Robinson said messages in the group included racial epithets, discussion about trees needing "ornaments" for Christmas, and "OK boys get the ropes."
"I don't feel my kids are safe at school. I can't put my kids through what they've been going through for years here," Robinson said. "Not knowing my children were being called a [N-word] at school, or when they lash out because it's said for years, my child gets suspended."
After the SUV crashed into the Robinsons' home on Saturday, a criminal complaint says Benton ran into a nearby field. He was arrested around 10 a.m. the same day while walking near Alexander Park in Cold Spring.
More than $14,000 has been raised to help the Robinsons cover home repairs, auto insurance and lawyer fees. The fundraiser explains that "no one should live in fear of their families lives because of the color of their skin. This family needs to know we are here, we will support them and they are not alone."
Cold Spring Mayor Dave Heinen on Monday released the following statement, condemning racism.
"The City of Cold Spring vehemently rejects racist behavior in all its forms. One of the most insidious forms, which is not always visible to the community, is harassment targeting a single community member or family
"Racism is harmful first and foremost to the victims. The damage to the sense of security and peace of mind in their own home is even more significant than the property damage resulting from this incident, and will leave them with lasting scars.
"Racist behavior is harmful to our whole community as well. It is not right, and is not welcome here. I want to strongly reiterate that the City of Cold Spring does not tolerate racism in any form. We strive to be a welcoming community for all persons no matter race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender identification, age, ability, place of origin, citizenship status or veteran status and we will continue to promote this community value."