A man suspected of randomly assaulting and swearing at victims in St. Paul over the last two months was recently arrested in Minneapolis.
In one case, the 38-year-old male suspect allegedly ripped the door handle off a car and damaged the vehicle with it. On Dec. 12, he allegedly drove by a woman, rolled down his window, hollered expletives and threw a Gatorade bottle at her face, striking her below the eye.
"What made the crimes more peculiar is that they were in the middle of the day," said St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders.
The suspect is linked to five incidents in St. Paul from Dec. 12 to Jan. 10 in the city's Western District.
Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said police were called to a suspicious vehicle about 11:53 a.m. Sunday and saw the suspect allegedly exit a stolen vehicle. He was arrested without incident on suspicion of auto theft.
The suspect's alleged actions in St. Paul did not appear to be motivated by auto theft, police said.
"It's unclear what his motive was, but he never attempted to steal vehicles" in St. Paul, Linders said.
He appeared to pick victims at random, police said.
"It was just bizarre behavior," Linders said.
The suspect had not been criminally charged in the St. Paul or Minneapolis cases as of late Wednesday afternoon. The Star Tribune generally does not name suspects unless they are charged.
Authorities allege that he was responsible for these attacks in St. Paul: On Dec. 12, he drove by in a pickup truck while wearing a blue bandanna over his mouth. He approached a man who was getting into a car and struck the man below the eye with a what appeared to be a wrench.
About 15 minutes later that day, he assaulted a woman with a Gatorade bottle.
On Jan. 7, he assaulted a male victim at St. Clair Avenue and Amherst Street. He assaulted a male victim and damaged another male victim's car later that same day.
A man told police that on Jan. 10, the suspect threatened him with a metal pipe at the end of an alley by his home.
Court records show that the suspect has a long history of convictions from 1999 to 2017 that include aggravated first-degree robbery, terroristic threats, disorderly conduct, trespassing and theft.
A misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge filed against him earlier this month in Stearns County listed him as a Minneapolis resident.
Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib