By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (WCCO) — Police responding to a call of possible squatters at a Brooklyn Center apartment complex instead found a dead body inside a chimney.

Police were called to the 5300 block of Russell Avenue North Wednesday on a call regarding the possible squatters, according to Tim Gannon of Brooklyn Center Police.

“He had a feeling or maybe had seen the individual maybe in the area, or in the last few days, and wanted the police to just walk through the complex,” he said. “The officers walked around the complex, discovered a roof access that had been opened, that wasn’t normally opened.

They gained access to the roof, saw some clothing items on the roof, looked over what we’d call a chimney-type structure and they saw a body at the bottom of the structure.”

Officers examined the roof and checked the chimney. The body of an adult male was found about 15 to 20 feet down from the roof.

Police say the body had been there at least a day or two.

“There’s a lot of traffic in and out of there, throughout the night,” said John Reinarz, a neighbor of the building.

He said the complex has seen its share of problems — but nothing like this.

Police had to cut the body out of the chimney in order to remove it. The cause of death is unknown, pending a report from the medical examiner.

Other items found on the roof included clothing, silverware and even a sleeping bag.

Officers must now work to find out how the man died, who he is and who might have put him there.

Reg Chapman

Comments (40)
  1. red says:

    OMG You never know what youi will find in this world anymore. Poor guy

  2. BB Cavanaugh says:

    Santa Claus?

  3. Sandy says:

    No place to sleep on a cold night

  4. Patrick says:

    Could have died from the flue.

    1. Kent says:

      The best Patrick, the best!

      1. Patrick says:

        I should have said “In-Flue-enza”

    2. MegJeeeeee says:

      I don’t believe the “flue” is a disease, also, NOBODY WHO HAS THE FLU PUTS THEMSELF IN A CHIMNEY.

      1. Dairishman says:

        MegJeeeee is obviously not a fireplace aficionado….

      2. Bobby says:

        MegJeeee- are you being serious? Flue is a part of a chimney…it was a play on words.

        and very very funny—good work Patrick.

    3. Nikole says:

      That is freeking funny Patrick!!!!!!!!!

    4. Patrick says:

      Thanks folks. I know this is sad but sometimes a little humor helps. I didn’t mean to put a damper on anyone’s day.

  5. Wesley says:

    You can’t know for sure yet. Could have been murder, could have been complete accident, could be Santa, could be a robber who failed big time.

  6. Let's all hug it out. says:

    You people are so mean and thoughtless.

    Just kidding, that’s some funny sheet!

  7. Hockey7 says:

    Funny ….yet sad at the same time

  8. Matt Gassler says:

    thats what ya call a stack robber.

  9. MD says:

    The death of a human being is never something to joke about. Sorry, can’t see the humor in it. Prayers for his loved ones.

    1. jewels says:

      My thoughts exactly, I just can’t believe people how rude and uncaring people can be…

    2. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

      I agree. This person was a human being and is died. This isn’t funny.

  10. digger says:

    If it was one of MY family members, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE TO BREAK IN. I would take them in.

  11. natural comedy says:

    lighten up people….obviously it’s sad in general that someone loses their life but it’s bound to happen to everyone….and hopefully it wasn’t a murder but if life gives you some natural comedy….there is no harm in enjoying a little chuckle….who know maybe this guy is laughing at himself too….you never know!

  12. richard says:

    It’s not funny in any way. You people are IGNORANT!

    1. Laughing & Serious says:

      Natural Comedy said it “Lighten up!” yes it’s sad he died, yes it’s horrible if he was homeless looking for some place warm to go, BUT do not forget if he chose to go down the flue that was his choice and a bad one at that, if it turns out he was dead before going down then find the killer. AND YES some of these comments are funny indeed!!!

      Now Richard, why don’t you do something to address the homelessness

    2. wheat says:

      richard its funny in every way dude !!!

  13. shamoo says:

    Prolly another typical meth or crackhead. It’s Brooklyn Center.. Who cares? Another one bites the dust!

    1. Marie says:

      Actually he was not a meth head or crackhead. He was a veteran of YOUR country! Still funny? Maybe if our goverment would take care of our own instead of everyother country OUR veterans wouldn’t be homeless!

  14. shamoo says:

    I don’t have family members that stupid. Although the meth heads… who cares!

  15. WelfareRoaches says:

    Yea… It’s not like there’s a lot of upstanding citizens that live in Brooklyn Center or Park anyways… No great loss.

  16. The Mean Angler says:

    Now how to get the body out of the chimney without causing the owner anymore inconvenience than the lingering smell.

    I’ve always wanted to reel in a big one in MN. Treble hooks?

  17. Tom says:

    I like all the comments to this article, even though it is a sad news story, all comments are honest and worthy!

  18. Judy says:

    Theres a lot of traffic out of there through the night…hmmm so why didnt Mr Reinarz report the trespassing? I guess its our own fault when needless deaths happen, and no one thinks to get involved, even a little bit. Not even to call the cops! My condolences to this mans family. It is never easy to lose a loved one whether they be homeless, a runaway, standing outside their own home, or innocently walking down the street minding their own business.

    1. Seriously says:

      He was merely noting it was an active building. Driving into an apartment parking lot is not trespassing. You might want to think about your comment before you post it.

  19. jas says:

    My city keeps making the news in a bad way. Lived here since 87 gets worse every year, My car was stolen last march form my driveway. Lots of crime here homeinvasion, driveby shootings it sucks. I have the attitude of playing for keeps. Dont come to my house uninvited, you may not leave.

  20. crazyfamily says:

    He could have bought a chimney cleaning log for $4

    1. Nikole says:


  21. AP says:

    Thanks for the negative comments and jokes. That man was my husband’s uncle. Its always nice to see sick humor when someone dies, they still have a family that has to deal with the death.

  22. successNOT says:

    So your husbands uncle climbs into chimneys of property he doesnt belong in, sounds like he was a good man. Why should we show compassion, you reap what you sow

  23. Shea Terwedow says:

    maybe he was cold

  24. jas says:

    Now being investigated as a murder.

  25. mike fargione says:

    Marine Corps vet; in his 50’s; issues with homelessness and depression.
    Rest in Peace.