ST. PAUL -- A would-be cat burglar needed police help Monday to get out of a locked building in St. Paul, according to a criminal complaint.
Lao Thao, 20, of St. Paul was charged Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court with third-degree burglary.
Around 8:30 p.m. police responded to an industrial business at 292 Walnut Street. A 911 caller reported seeing a man with a black backpack climb up the wall and enter the building through a window on the roof.
Officers could see Thao through a glass door on the Walnut Street side of the building. He said he was locked in the building and could not get out, the complaint said.
As police waited for someone from the business to arrive, Thao eventually went back out the way he came in and climbed down a utility pole attached to the building, according to the complaint.
Thao was arrested and searched. He had with him a box cutter, a multitool and two keys, 12 USB drives, a laser pointer, a computer bag and a sealed cardboard box awaiting shipping which he told police he had taken from inside the building, according to the complaint. He said he had been trying various keys to get out because the door was locked, the complaint said.
The business discovered money was missing. It was found at the jail in an envelope stuffed between Thao’s buttocks, the complaint states.
Thao had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in regards to an arson incident May 25. According to that complaint, he had started something on fire and pushed it into the vent at the Maplewood Transit Center at 1793 Beam Ave. His actions were captured on surveillance video.
Thao told police he didn’t start the fire, but he did put it out, the complaint said. Damage to the building was estimated to be over $3,000.
He is ordered to return to court Oct. 20.