Repeated break-ins lead St. Paul restaurant owner to rethink campaign for mayor

Maybe St. Paul restaurant owner Brian Ingram has been burglarized so many times he figures he doesn’t have much more to lose. After previously deciding against running for city hall this fall, Ingram let on to the Pioneer Press that he may change his mind over the runaway crime wave in the city.

Ingram said earlier this year he was thinking about running against Carter in November. He had decided he wouldn’t, but he said Tuesday that people have been asking him to and he is reconsidering.

The proprietor of the Hope Breakfast Bar revealed the damage from his most recent burglary on his Facebook page, placing the blame squarely on St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and the criminal justice system for being soft on crime.

It’s crazy. I don’t know what the right answer is but I know letting folks out that continue to rob and torment our city is not the answer.  I’m asking again for Melvin Carter to step up and do something. How are you leading our city? We need you. We need you to stop talking about what you’re going to do in the future. I need you to talk about what you are going to do to help crime in our city right now.

City crime statistics back up Ingram’s complaints with business break-ins spiking more than 50 percent this year over last.

My staff is scared, our guests are scared and I’m sick of being robbed. Please help us. Please do something. Figure out how we keep criminals put away. This catch and release that’s happening right now is insanity. We’ve lost thousands upon thousands of dollars. This is insanity. We need help from our city leaders.

But Carter appears determined to stay the course with no change in strategy conveyed in the standard issue response from his public relations staff.

Carter’s focus on what he calls a “community-first” approach to public safety has included adding more youth outreach workers to the streets and expanding the city’s youth employment program. He’s also emphasized the need to take a public health approach to preventing violence.

“The mayor has spoken extensively about our ground-breaking work to build the most comprehensive, coordinated and data-driven public safety system our city has ever endeavored; the national COVID crime wave of the last year makes clear that this work is more urgent than ever,” Peter Leggett, Carter’s communications director, said in a Tuesday statement.

In the meantime, Carter’s given Ingram still more incentive to consider a run for the city’s top office. Despite the end of the statewide mask mandate, the mayor has refused to lift the requirement for masks to be worn indoors in city-licensed businesses.