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Police: 11 arrested for entering storm sewers, trespassing near critical infrastructure

11 arrested for entering Fridley storm sewers
11 arrested for entering Fridley storm sewers 00:18

FRIDLEY, Minn. -- Eleven people were arrested Monday night after police say they traveled through storm sewers near critical infrastructure.

Officers were dispatched to the area of 45th Avenue Northeast and Main Street Northeast in Fridley shortly after 7 p.m. on a report that four people climbed into a manhole.

Police say the manhole was adjacent to a fenced commercial property with "numerous possible items of worth" inside.

An officer noted a grinding sound near the commercial lot, which they said suggested potential catalytic converter theft. Police were unsure if the individuals had used the sewer to access the fenced-in property. 

While investigating the property, three people were spotted by police exiting a manhole and were taken into custody.

Officers continued to survey the area when a passerby notified them they saw several other people walking across the 44th Avenue bridge that could be related to the incident.   

Al Langlewicz

Fridley police contacted the Columbia Heights Police Department who then located the individuals and took the three of them into custody.

Police say the suspects had walked through the sewer all the way west to the Mississippi River, going under the BNSF Railroad and the Minneapolis Water Treatment Plant--both considered critical infrastructure. Trespassing on critical infrastructure is considered a gross misdemeanor.

Police located and took into custody another five people related to the sewer incident on the 4300 block of East River Road Northeast.

The suspects, each charged with one count of trespassing near critical public service facilities, were due for their first appearance in court Wednesday. One person pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year of probation and a $388 fine.

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