Jerks leave presents.
The unwanted charity usually starts around the Fourth of July holiday. Visitors to Thomas Beach on the south side of Lake Calhoun forsake garbage cans, preferring to dump vodka bottles, cigarette butts, and soiled diapers on parking lots, sidewalks, and bike trails in this nook where Minneapolis' most popular water playground marries one of its choicest neighborhoods.
This summer, though, the quality of life violations began one week ahead of schedule.
Last Monday morning, longtime neighborhood resident Annan Wilson, who lives less than two blocks from the lake, had friends in town from Chicago. Wanting to share the perks of the city with her guests, the proud Minneapolitan took a walk to Lake Calhoun with the out-of-towners. In tow with the two mothers were their five kids, none older than age 12.
Welcoming them to Thomas Beach were three vehicles, parked side by side and blocking the entrance to the lot. Nearby was a throng of young men, two of whom were chucking a basketball and football at other parked cars. Sensing a bad energy, Wilson's party detoured, walking away from their sandy destination.
Wilson walked out into her front yard the following day. She could hear f- and n-bombs coming from the beach. She moved in for a closer look. The same three cars were camped out again near Calhoun Parkway. She recognized the men from the day prior.
"They were so aggressive," she tells City Pages. "You could just tell it was bad news."
Husband Peter paid the men a visit at the behest of his wife. He asked that they tone it down. His requests were turned around into accusations of racism. A short time later, when Annan decided to snap pictures of the perps' cars, the men responded, "'Fuck you! We'll come take a picture of your house and take care of you,'" she says.
Wilson isn't the only neighbor who's been threatened by the same group.
According to Minneapolis police, the very same day Wilson encountered the men at the beach, a 30-year-old woman who lives on the parkway was told: "We're going to kidnap you and then we're going to rape you."
"They showed up for three days straight, but that day was definitely the worst," says the victim, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feels unsafe using her name. "When they first approached me I was in my garage unpacking boxes. That's when they said, 'You are very beautiful. Your home is very beautiful. We want to live here.'"
Sorry, but I'm married, she responded.
"Then they said, 'That's no problem. You know Sharia law? You know we could kidnap you?'" according to the victim. "… I took this to mean they're their own judge and jury and they can do whatever they want. They can kidnap me and rape me because they're allowed under the law they believe in."
Police arrived after the victim and neighbors called 911.