A 48-year-old Roseville man has been arrested and charged, suspected of leaving notes threatening violence at homes with signs that support Black Lives Matter and inclusion.
Kevin Karjalahti is charged with three counts of felony threats of violence in connection to the incidents that occurred between May 29 and June 1 in Roseville and St. Paul, a news release says.
According to the criminal complaint, the following notes were found:
- On May 30, a resident in the Fernwood and Roma Avenue area reported a rolled-up note was left in the handle of their front door that said it would be in their best interest to remove their Black Lives Matter sign because "payback is coming." Fingerprints from the note match Karjalahti's.
- Between May 30-31, a note was found rolled up in the door handle of a home near Hamline and County Road B2 saying they should take down their sign or “you and your home will burn real quiet while you sleep in it.” Fingerprints from the note match Karjalahti's.
- On June 1, a resident in the area of County Road B and Hamline Avenue found a note on their vehicle's windshield that read "Your home burns next" and their All Are Welcome Here sign was torn in half. Fingerprint results are pending.
- On June 1, a St. Paul resident found a note that said, "Your neighbors have grown sick of your f------ riots and bull---- matters signs. Remove them or we torch your house and cars real quiet with lighter fluid while you seep. We have had enough!” Another note was found on the resident's vehicle that read, "Yeah we were here too. Take your SJW [social justice warrior] bull---- signs down or we burn you in your sleep. you [expletive] want a war you will get one!” Fingerprint results are pending.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's forensic laboratory analyzed the notes, which found the penmanship, punctuation, misspellings and context of all the notes are similar and appear they were all written by the same person, the complaint said.
Roseville police arrested Karjalahti on July 22 and searched his home on the 1700 block of Fernwood Avenue, the news release says. Charges were filed July 23.
When police spoke with Karjalahti, he denied writing the letters and said the fingerprints weren't his, the complaint said. His wife also spoke to police, saying her husband wrote the letters because he was frustrated after the city was destroyed but didn't know what the notes said.
"The Roseville Police Department recognizes the fear and trauma crimes motivated by hate and bias cause for those targeted, especially for persons of color. The department will continue to thoroughly investigate all incidents and crimes that may be motivated by hatred or other biases. We will seek justice for anyone affected by hate or bias-motivated crimes and are committed to building a safe and livable community for all residents and visitors," a news release said.
The Roseville Police Department has been investigating a series of incidents involving Black Lives Matter signs this summer. Last week, the department said it was looking to identify suspects who stole Black Lives Matter signs and left dead raccoons nearby.
To report a hate crime that is in progress, call 911 right away. It a hate crime has already occurred and there's no immediate danger, call 651-767-0640 or submit a time online at www.cityofroseville.com/3194/Crime-Tips. Bias crimes can also be reported to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.