MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota couple says they know why a stranger targeted their family, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
A suspected stalker used a stolen SUV to hit their house in Cold Spring last weekend. Andrea and Phillipe Robinson’s Ring camera captured the vehicle driving onto their front porch. It severely damaged the side of the home.
“I’m still in shock,” Andrea said. “I can’t believe this. Every day I just come out here and think it’s a bad dream.”
Benton Beyer has been charged in the attack. Police say he stole the vehicle and ditched it in front of the Robinsons’ house after placing a large piece of granite on the accelerator. Hanging inside was a teddy bear in a noose.
The Robinsons are an interracial couple; Andrea is white and Phillipe is Black.
“How do I supposed to feel safe?” Phillipe said. “My wife, my children don’t want to stay here, and I understand.”
Beyer is no stranger to the Robinsons. Andrea has a restraining order against him, and police have fielded 18 calls in the past two months about Beyer stalking and harassing her.
“He’s ramped it up,” Phillipe said. “He went from busting out windows to shooting at cameras, to knowing our schedule well enough that he would follow my wife at grocery stores.”
They say the frightening behavior started after they posted a video about racism in their children’s school, and put a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard. Andrea says the sign became a target.
The police say if there’s evidence of a racially-motivated crime, they will seek prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. But the Robinsons have little faith, saying officers quickly gave up chasing Beyer after the crash.
“We were left here with our neighbors with no police protection with a man that essentially tried to kill our family,” Andrea said.
Police say they ended the search because the field he was in was wet and difficult to navigate. Phillipe says Beyer was only caught later thanks to a neighbor turning him in.
Beyer made his first court appearance Tuesday after being charged with auto theft, stalking and property damage. All three are felony charges.
An online fund has raised more than $15,000 to help the Robinsons repair their home and pay for any legal fees.