Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Fake Police Raid at the Penn House

Post and photo (of the first MPD traffic stop in front of my house since I bought it) by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

For months, I've been itching to tell this story about a fake police raid at my house.  I couldn't do so until after it actually became my house.  Since this is one of my favorite vignettes during the homebuying process, it gets top billing for the post-closing blog entries.

What is a "fake police raid," you ask?  Well, it all started one November afternoon when...

...I was out in the community doorknocking for the tornado relief effort.  My companion and driver didn’t know I was buying the Penn house, so I made sure to guide him past it while we went from one destination to another.  I told him a bit about what I wanted to do, and then we arrived at the next house to visit.  It took a fair amount of convincing to get him to understand that 1) I wasn't crazy, and 2) I would, in all likelihood, not get shot immediately.  Just then a friend who is often my eyes and ears on the street sprang into effect with a fortuitous phone call.

“Hey man, have you been by your place?” said the informant.

“By my place, do you mean the one I’m going to buy?”

“Yeah man, you better get over there.  There’s some action going down.”

“Dude, I was just there, and it was as quiet as you could imagine.  What’s happening?”

“About four squad cars showed up, with a swat team and a K-9 unit, and they kicked down the door.  You better get over there.”

“I shit you not, I was just there thirty seconds ago, and saw nothing.  Are you SURE this is happening?”

“Yeah man, they’ve got the place surrounded.  I don’t know what they’re doing but you better go see.”

“Well, SHIT,” thought I.  My driver wasn’t as familiar with the everyday occurrences of life over north.  I couldn’t very well ask him to join me in the pursuit of a swat team, now could I?  But there’s no way in hell I was going to approach that scene without the safety of a vehicle that could get me away quickly.

Just then another colleague met us and I told them both the story.  Without batting an eye, he tossed me the keys to his truck.  “Get over there and see what’s happening.  Be safe, and bring me my truck back when you’re done, hopefully without any bullet holes."

On my way to the house, I called my Realtor to tell her what was going down.  We hastily made plans to hold watch or board up the house ourselves if the cops left it open to trespass.  By the time I got there, police were walking around the place rather casually, and I assumed it would be safe to approach them.  To add another layer to this surreal experience, I was wearing a black suit, white stark shirt, and a red power tie because later that evening some friends and I were going karaoke singing at a cop-themed bar and we thought it’d be fun to dress up in our fanciest clothes.

So I strolled up to an officer and asked what was going on.  “Who are you?” he wanted to know.

“I’m the guy who’s buying this house.”

(Awkward pause….)  “Ohhh….well we’re conducting a training exercise.  We got permission from the lady to be here.” (referring to a contact with the then-owner)

“Well, a friend of mine said you kicked down the door…”

“What?  Oh, no.  We didn’t do that,” Officer Friendly replied, then saw my eyes look over his shoulder at the footprint RIGHT IN THE CENTER of the door.  “I mean yeah, we KICKED it, but we left it open a hair first and didn’t break anything.  We’ll lock it back up when we’re done.”

Since the gap between when I drove by and when my friend called was under a minute, we can rest easy knowing the MPD can converge that quickly when they need to.  And since it was a pretend police raid, we know they caught their man.


  1. LOL - It's not the Mpls Police's ability to respond quickly that is in question, it's the motivation to do so.

  2. Great story! Congrats on the new house!
    They should do a lot more of those fake police raids. Maybe give the owners of abandoned properties a little tax break or other incentive to let them do it.
    Every block, make a nice display of what the boys in blue can do, if you're up to no good.

  3. Welcome to Jordan Jeff. LOL Hopefully we will see more of this training in action this year.

  4. Why do "Fake" raids on every block? NoMi is a target rich environment!


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