Red Wing sees rash of downtown crime
RED WING — A notice from the Red Wing Area Chamber of Commerce to its members sent out last week warned them to beware of criminal activity after a pair of break-ins and a rash of vandalism in downtown Red Wing.
Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman said the warning from the chamber is both timely and appropriate. "The best thing to do is put the word out, which is what the chamber did," Pohlman said. "Report suspicious activity, which often is the break we need."
According to chamber Executive Director Patty Brown — and confirmed by Pohlman — several vending machines were damaged from people trying to break into them, and other minor acts of theft and vandalism have plagued downtown businesses in recent weeks.
Brown said not all of the crimes have been reported to police. "One had a birdbath fountain with a gazing ball that was stolen," she said. "It's not big crime. It's just little annoying stuff."
Pohlman said area businesses and residents should report crimes no matter how minor so police can track the crimes to see if there are any patterns. Brown said six businesses had contacted the chamber to warn of petty crimes.
As for the break-ins, Pohlman said a suspect is in custody and has been charged with the break-ins at the Red Wing Visitor and Convention Bureau and the Red Wing Arts Association that occurred May 21.
Eugene Bluemke, 49, of Staten Island, N.Y., is being held on charges of theft, third degree burglary, fourth-degree damage to property and trespassing, according to the Goodhue County Attorney's Office. Pohlman said Bluemke "got booted off" an Amtrak train. He was found with jewelry reported stolen, as well as a wi-fi router.
Of bigger concern to Pohlman was the vandalism done to cars along South Park Street on the weekend of May 27-28. Several tires were slashed and windows broken, he said, resulting in as much as $20,000 in damage. "That one's more troubling," Pohlman said. "Someone was just plain malicious there."
Red Wing police are still investigating the crime, he said, hoping some information will come forward.
"The thing the chamber sent out was a reminder to follow good crime prevention practices and report suspicious activity," Pohlman said. "We'd rather check it out and find it to be nothing than miss out on a lead we could have had."