Police Blotter

Disappearing and reappearing around campus

McKenna Dirks

More stories from McKenna Dirks

3rd and Vine
April 5, 2022

Photo by Submitted

Where did it come from?

On Friday, Oct. 4. at 11:27 a.m., the UW-Eau Claire Police front office received a call from Eau Claire Transit. 

They said a bus driver had reported a backpack that had been sitting at the bus stop outside of Karlgaard Towers hall all day, and there was no one around. The bus driver said they weren’t sure if it was abandoned, but they felt it was suspicious. 

An officer was dispatched to the area and observed a black backpack leaning against the post for the bus stop along 600 University Drive. The officer said they didn’t see anyone around.

The officer said there was also a coffee cup and a pair of gloves. They checked the outside pockets of the backpack to see if any identification was present, but didn’t find any. 

The officer said they placed the backpack into the back seat of their squad car, then proceeded to walk into Towers Hall and observed a person seated at a table in the lobby. 

The area is a secured building and only students with card access are allowed into the building, the officer said. They asked the female subject if her backpack was outside by the bus stop, she said it was and confirmed the backpack belonged to her.

The female subject said she had come to Towers to catch a bus to another city and she placed the bag there to hold her place in line. 

The officer said to her that no line would exist as not many people get on the bus at this location. The female subject said she couldn’t remember the city or state she was traveling to, but she said she was not a resident of Towers Hall. 

The officer said she would not be allowed to stay inside. She said a female told her she could stay there, but she was unable to identify who this person was. 

The officer said she could wait outside for the bus or go into the Chippewa Valley Technical College buildings, as they are public areas where she can be inside and still keep an eye out for the bus. 

The officer walked to their squad car with the female subject and turned over the backpack they collected and briefly placed in the backseat. They tried to converse with the female subject more, but she walked away and would not respond. 

No other information was given at this time.

Just can’t get enough

On Friday, Oct 4. at 1:32 p.m., an officer was dispatched to Towers Hall regarding a call for a check person. The communication center said an elderly female was asking students for cigarettes and making people feel uncomfortable. 

Based on the clothing description, the officer said they identified the female subject as the same woman from earlier that day at the same location. 

The officer arrived on the scene and found a backpack unattended on the sidewalk. They located the female subject near the sidewalk adjacent to Towers Circle by the front doors of the residence hall. 

The officer introduced themselves and stated the reason for their contact. The female subject said she had been asking people for cigarettes. She said she was waiting for the bus. 

The officer spoke to the female subject about soliciting/pandering on campus. They requested she stay close to her bag so the UW- Eau Claire Police Department would not receive calls about a suspicious item. The officer also told her she was not allowed inside the residence halls. They told the female subject they had spoken to the previous officer about their contact with her. 

The female subject then walked to the sidewalk, took custody of her backpack and walked across the street and sat in the grass near the CVTC parking lot. The officer then cleared the scene.

The officer contacted the complainant to confirm the female subject asking them for cigarettes, and they said the female subject seemed to have no perception of personal boundaries, and this made them feel unsafe. 

The officer thanked them for the call, and they thanked the officer for checking on the female subject. 

Death to the infamous footbridge pots: Part two

On Saturday, Oct 5. at 1:54 a.m., an officer observed damage to the potted trees on the south and north end of the university footbridge. This was the second occurrence of the plants being damaged in a week. 

The potted tree on the south side of the footbridge was completely ripped out of the pot and missing, the officer said. There was a lot of dirt around the pot on the ground, they said. 

The officer said there was a dirt trail that lead towards the east handrail of the footbridge, which suggested the plant had been thrown into the Chippewa River. They checked the riverbank and the immediate area with their flashlight, but could not locate the tree.

The potted tree on the north side of the footbridge was damaged as well, the officer said. The tree was still inside the pot, but it appeared someone had attempted to dig and pull it out of the pot, they said. 

The officer said the roots were exposed and there was a lot of dirt on the ground around the pot. They took pictures of the scene. 

This is all the information released at this time. 

Dirks can be reached at [email protected]