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Girl feels threatened while out walking; male suspect found hiding in bushes

A 22-year-old local man was picked up in the Greenwood Cemetery and cited for disorderly conduct and drug paraphernalia possession late Sunday night. The man was believed to be the suspect who frightened a 16-year-old girl who was walking her two dogs at the Greenwood Elementary School playground. The girl said he came close and stared at her, then chased her as she ran off with her dogs and called 911 on her cell phone.

The man's bike was soon found across the street in the cemetery. He was found hiding behind some bushes.

The man said he meant no harm toward the girl, that he was just curious about her. Later he told police he followed because he thought the girl might be his sister. After he was searched, police say they recovered a pot pipe on the man. He was taken into custody and given two fines totaling $344.

In the last week, River Falls police also:

--Arrested a 29-year-old St. Paul man after he crashed into a traffic light at the highway bypass intersection next to Moody's auto dealership Sunday evening. The man was driving north. After hitting the light he went into a ditch. He was taken away by ambulance to the hospital and later released. He was fined for drunk driving and not having car insurance.

--Cited a 16-year-old local boy for motor vehicle theft Friday afternoon. The boy allegedly entered an open garage and rummaged inside a car before taking a pack of gum. Only trouble was he dropped his cell phone. The car owner found it later. Police were able to call "home" on the phone and reach the boy's mother. When questioned, the boy finally admitted going though the car. He claimed he only took the gum. He said friends had told him it was fun and exciting to go through other people's cars and take stuff. They call it "car shopping."

--Arrested a 21-year-old local man for shoplifting at EconoFoods Saturday afternoon. The man was stopped by a security clerk after allegedly stealing a liquor bottle of Southern Comfort. When questioned, the man said he didn't have money to buy the booze and had a party to go to that evening. He was given a $177 fine. The Southern Comfort was recovered in salable condition.

--Arrested two young men for fighting outside until they were bloody in the 100 block of North Third Street last Wednesday just after 2 a.m. The fight apparently started over a misunderstanding one man had over the other's comment about a girlfriend. One witness was described as a woman who was crying hysterically. She was said to be distraught that the brawling men were ruining her 21st birthday celebration.

For more Police Beat, please check the June 16 print edition of the River Falls Journal.