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Charges: Man Smashes Windows After Complaining Of ‘Tainted’ Cigarettes

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –A 26-year-old man faces charges for allegedly shattering seven windows with a mallet at a Minneapolis market last month after complaining of tainted products, authorities said.

Matthew A. Christenson has been charged with one count of first-degree damage to property, court documents show. He allegedly used a mallet to break the windows of Kyle’s Market, located on the 800 block of 36th Street West, in the early morning hours of June 12. The cost to repair the damage exceeds $1,000.

Police say surveillance video of the window smashing showed a heavy-set man with what appeared to be a towel wrapped around his head hitting the windows of Kyle’s Market with a mallet about 30 times. The man, however, made no attempt to enter the market.

Earlier in the day, surveillance video also showed that a man, who appeared to be Christenson, visited the market and spoke with an employee about the freshness of the cigarettes. The man was recorded as wearing a Twins baseball cap and wrap-around sunglasses.

When authorities spoke with the market’s owner, he said that another business he owned, Calhoun Pet Supply, also sustained damage in the past few months.

According to a criminal complaint:

Police developed interest in Christenson as a suspect after he appeared to have spoken with the market’s owner on the phone a few days prior to the window smashing.

In the call, which took place on June 9, a caller named “Matt” asked the owner to meet him at a nearby park. When the owner asked why, Matt said “you know what I’m talking about.” Matt then told the owner he was calling about a certain brand of cigarettes, the Newport 100s.

“This is why your store is all messed up, because you are selling poison cigarettes,” Matt told the owner.

A month after the phone call, Christenson went to the 5th Precinct headquarters and told police he had obtained “tainted” cigarettes from Kyle’s Market.

Two days after complaining to police, officers went to Christenson’s home on the 3600 block of Colfax Avenue, which is about one block from Kyle’s Market. Christenson told the officers that the cigarettes he had been buying from Kyle’s Market had been tampered with and that the tamping had been going on for a while. He also said he had purchased a pizza that had been tainted with a hallucinogen. Moreover, he told the officers he had bipolar disorder and does not take his medicine because he believes it, like the pizza and the cigarettes, is tainted.

On the following day, July 12, officers executed a search warrant of Christenson’s home. They found a large mallet with what appeared have several gouges and glass fragments. They also found a large box with packages of unopened cigarettes (mostly Newport 100s) and a notebook with notes referring to the poisoning Christenson had told officers he was suffering.

They also found a towel consistent with the one used in the crime, a Twins baseball cap and a pair of wrap-around sunglasses.

Officers arrested Christenson, who made his first court appearance Monday.

If convicted of the felony, Christenson could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

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