By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul police are searching for a man suspected of attacking or threatening people at random in broad daylight.

There have been at least five reported incidents, all of them on the city’s west side.

“It’s just a weird, weird situation,” said St. Paul Police spokesperson Steve Linders. “All of the instances appear to be random, they appear to be unprovoked, and it appears that the suspect does not know the victim, or vice versa.”

The first two incidents happened on December 12. Ryan Hoogenakker said he was walking to his car when a man drove by in pick-up truck and flipped him off. Once in his car, Hoogenakker said the man aggressively parked next to him.

“He came up to my window, he’s yelling at me, he’s hitting my window, and then he was going to break my window,” Hoogenakker said. “So I rolled it down and he took this wrench and started like hitting me in the face.”

When Hoogenakker jumped out to defend himself and his vehicle, the man took off — but his attacks continued. Police said he threw a bottle at a woman’s face on the 2000 block of Roblyn Avenue the same day.

Nearly a month later on January 7, police got a call about a man fitting a similar description in the 1400 block of Ashland Avenue. During that incident, police said the attacker hit one man in the face and damaged another man’s car. Both victims were in their 70s.

The Subaru Outback driven by the man who has been attacking people at random in St. Paul (credit: CBS)

Three days later, there was a report of a man threatening others while holding a pipe on the 2100 block of Wellesley Avenue.

The fifth attack was reported January 14 near St. Clair Avenue and Amherst Street.

“We really don’t know what’s going on in this person’s mind,” Linders said. “It appears that there is no rhyme or reason for the actions he’s taking.”

The attacker is described as white, 6-feet- to 6-foot-2-inches tall, 220 to 250 pounds, and most notably with a teardrop tattoo under his left eye. During the incidents in January, he was seen driving a light blue or grey Subaru Outback with the license plate “454 PPW,” which police said is a stolen plate.

They added that his face is often partially covered by a bandana, scarf, or even a ski mask.

“It won’t stop me from walking to the bus or walking my dogs, but I will be more aware and alert for sure,” said neighbor Susan Willis.

Hoogenakker, a college student, said he suffered nothing more than a black eye, but he feels for the other victims.

“When you hear this happening to women and older, old men, that’s so bad,” he said.

Anyone who believes they have seen the attacker of the car he’s driving is asked to call 911.

Jeff Wagner

  1. It’s confusing when you say they are on the west side of St Paul. The West Side is known as a completely different area across from the river.