MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 38-year-old man is charged with criminal damage to property after police say he flushed several pounds of nails down a number of toilets at various businesses, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
According to a criminal complaint, police were dispatched to a Subway in Eagan on a report of property damage, where they met with the manager. The manager told them a man dumped two pounds of nails down the toilet and this was the third time it has happened at their location.
The first time it happened was on Aug. 6 and two days later, it happened again. The manager told police a plumber came to fix the toilet after the Aug. 6 incident and charged $1,000 to remove the nails and repair the plumbing. In each incident, approximately two pounds of nails were flushed.
The manager told police they had the suspect on video on Aug. 18 and supplied authorities with photos.
On Aug. 30, officers were again called to the Subway restaurant, as the suspect had returned to the scene. Police identified the man as Nicholas Mullenmaster, of St. Paul.
Mullenmaster denied any involvement.
On Sept. 3, Eagan police officers were dispatched to the Transit Station, which is about a block away from Subway, on a report that a man flushed approximately three pounds of nails down the toilet, clogging the sewer system. The manager told police it caused about $800 in damages. The suspect’s description matched that of Mullenmaster and mail, which was discovered by plumbers in the clog, was also addressed to Mullenmaster.
A similar incident happened on Sept. 26 at a Starbucks on Pilot Knob Road in Eagan, where the plumbing was backed up for three days. In that case, the sewer system caused flooding on the floors and forced the store to close from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Nails were again discovered in the store’s plumbing. Employees identified Mullenmaster as a regular at the store and said they noticed him going to the restroom for long periods of time.
Police were called again when Mullenmaster returned to the Starbucks the next day. Officers located Mullenmaster at a nearby Leeann Chin, where the restaurant manager told police he was in the bathroom. Officers knocked on the door and heard metallic objects hitting porcelain or tiled surfaces, as well as the toilet flushing.
When Mullenmaster came out, officers noticed he was carrying bags. Inside one bag was a large amount of silver, three-inch nails and a receipt from Home Depot.
The nails in the bag matched the nails removed from the plumbing at Starbucks. Officers were also notified that the restroom at the Starbucks was still closed — the damage was so extensive, the plumber had to cut through the wall to try and correct it.
Mullenmaster has been charged with first-degree criminal damage to property. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.