The Gnome in St. Paul is burglarized again

The restaurant's owner shared his frustrations in a Facebook video Sunday morning.
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The Gnome Pub in St. Paul was been broken into again, with thieves taking the restaurant's safe with them.

Restauranteur Brian Ingram, who co-owns The Gnome Pub at 498 Selby Ave. and other restaurants in the area, said in a Facebook video on Sunday morning the restaurant was broken into at 2:58 a.m. 

Ingram said thieves broke into the restaurant through the back door. The alarm went off and the security cameras caught everything, but the suspects got away with their safe. 

According to the St. Paul Police Department's incident report, officers responded to an alarm at the restaurant at 3:19 p.m. on Feb. 7. When they got there, they spoke with the cleaning staff who said everything was fine, noting they thought they heard someone at the door and they showed officers the alarm.

Officers cleared the scene, but then at 5:49 a.m., Ingram called to say the restaurant had been burglarized and the safe from the upstairs office was gone, the incident report said. 

This wasn't the first time the Gnome has been broken into. On Jan. 24, a man broke in and tried to get into the safe but was unsuccessful. Instead, he left with staff members' personal belongings, Ingram said on Facebook last month.

The police incident report from that day said someone called at 4:04 p.m. on Jan. 24 to report a theft. St. Paul PD spokesperson Steve Linders told Bring Me The News on Monday that in addition to the two aforementioned burglaries there have been a few alarm calls, a highway robbery on Jan. 29 and some thefts from vehicles at the Gnome's address, as well as another burglary on May 12, 2020. 

In August, one of Ingram's other restaurants – the Hope Breakfast Bar in St. Paul – was robbed, with the suspect gaining access to the safe, according to Facebook posts.

In total, Ingram said Sunday his restaurants have been robbed five times over the past few months. But it's not just him – other businesses and homes in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul have also experienced robberies and break-ins in recent months, as well as carjackings. 

Linders told Bring Me The News commercial burglaries are up this year compared to the same time last year in the SPPD's Western District, which includes Cathedral Hill. In January, the district had 30 commercial burglaries, while in January 2020 there were 23. 

Meanwhile, residential burglaries are down compared to last year in the Western District. In January 2020, there were 66 residential burglaries. In January of this year, there were 42. 

In the Facebook video, Ingram criticized St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, St. Paul City Council members, and Gov. Tim Walz for "staying silent" about the crimes and violence in the area, saying he's "disgusted" by what's happening in the city, but what upsets him more than anything is the lack of support from local officials, "this is insanity."

In another post on Facebook, Ingram said it's "going to take all of us working together to stop this madness taking over our city. Politicians, police, business and community leaders, it's time to stand together."

“The safety concerns the pandemic has brought demand action,” Mayor Carter told the Pioneer Press. “I am working closely with impacted community members and police department leadership alike to adjust our public safety strategies to meet this unprecedented moment.”

In a Facebook post on Monday, Ingram says he'll appear on Fox and Friends around 6 a.m. on Tuesday to talk "nationally about some of the challenges facing our community. We need our elected officials to start talking to us and working with us. Together we can make a difference." 

The SPPD Western District will be hosting a community meeting on Feb. 16 to "discuss current crime trends and listen to resident concerns," the St. Paul Police Department-Western District posted on Facebook on Monday. There will be a virtual meeting at 9:30 a.m. and another at 6:30 p.m. 

In recent weeks, the Western District has also offered burglary prevention workshops and has shared tips on social media to help prevent becoming a victim of a burglary or a vehicle theft. 

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