MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Deputies arrested a man they think managed to cut off the oxygen supply at a major Twin Cities hospital late last year.
Investigators say a 39-year-old man scaled a fence on Dec. 27 to get to the oxygen tanks at North Memorial Health hospital in Robbinsdale — a move that could have been deadly for the patients inside.
The incident was the latest in a pattern of bizarre behavior. According to a Hennepin County search warrant, the suspect scaled a chain link fence, broke metal clasps and zip ties, and shut off the oxygen to the entire hospital. Luckily, someone noticed the pressure change before it was too late.
Four hospital engineers were working at the time of the incident and were able to fix it quickly. But the warrant goes on to say that if those engineers weren’t there, it could have been a deadly situation.
North Memorial Health says patients were not hurt, but it’s not the first time the suspect has tampered with hospital property. According to the Hennepin County search warrant, the suspect was inside the hospital in the month leading up to the incident, unplugging computers and televisions.
The warrant also reveals the suspect is believed to be the main suspect in 250 Xcel Energy meter tampering incidents. And a check of his record shows multiple damage-to-property incidents, among other things.
For now, he is being held on suspicion of a “damage to property of critical public service facilities” charge.
The Hennepin County attorney’s office has until Thursday to file charges.