Man charged with five sexual assaults in downtown Minneapolis

The criminal complaint references several sexual assaults, at least three, that were allegedly committed by the suspect last month at the Brooklyn Park Target and Cub Foods stores for which he was apparently not charged.

Praise Ikechukwu Anuo Oluwinners/Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

A Brooklyn Park man has been charged with five counts of sexual assault involving five different victims that all occurred Wednesday morning in downtown Minneapolis.

However, the charges came after the suspect was released from jail Friday morning without being charged. He was re-apprehended on a warrant by police Friday evening in the same area where the alleged assaults occurred two days prior.

Praise Ikechukwu Anuo Oluwinners, 21, is facing two felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and three gross misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for the incidents that occurred in the area of South 3rd Street from Hennepin Avenue to Nicollet Mall.

Additionally, the criminal complaint references several sexual assaults, at least three, that were allegedly committed by Oluwinners last month at the Brooklyn Park Target and Cub Foods stores for which he was apparently not charged.

A community service officer in downtown Minneapolis was flagged down Wednesday around 7:45 a.m. by staff at the Four Seasons Hotel who reported that a man had been sexually assaulting women and stealing their purses, according to dispatch audio.

About the same time, an officer at the First Precinct aired that a victim had shown up at the precinct to make a sexual assault report. Two victims were reported to be at the Four Seasons Hotel in addition to the one at the precinct.

The suspect in the incidents was described as a black male in a pink sweatshirt or jacket who was reported to still be in the area.

Police found a suspect who matched the description on the Hennepin Avenue side of the downtown Central Library several minutes later and audio indicated that he was taken into custody.

RBC Gateway, the building which houses the Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis, sent an email to RBC colleagues the following day acknowledging the incidents which involved nonconsensual touching. RBC said the arrested individual “is prohibited from being on RBC Gateway property.”

Oluwinners remained in custody at Hennepin County Jail until Friday morning when he was released just before 10 a.m. without being charged. The jail record indicates that the 48-hour time period required for charging had expired.

Hennepin County Jail records also indicate that the Wednesday arrest was Oluwinners’ sixth Hennepin County booking since January. Charges in four of the prior bookings involved counts of trespassing, indecent exposure, and transit crimes. Court records indicate that charges in all of those cases were dismissed after Oluwinners was deemed incompetent to stand trial in each case.

Jail records show a fifth arrest on March 19 by Brooklyn Park police on a probable cause hold for criminal sexual conduct — presumably the Target and Cub Foods incidents. The jail record indicates that Oluwinners was released the following day without being charged, and no information could be immediately found in court records showing that any charges were filed related to the Brooklyn Park incidents.

Dispatch audio from Friday night suggested that police were trying to locate Oluwinners in downtown Minneapolis just before 7 p.m. and aired that he was wanted on a sexual assault warrant. Audio indicated that police found him in the same area near 3rd and Hennepin Avenue where the Wednesday assaults took place. Jail records show he was again booked into custody Friday night on a warrant involving the five sexual assault charges.

The criminal complaint related to Wednesday’s five incidents says that Oluwinners approached one woman after she got off the bus and started talking to her and asked her for a “high five.” She felt uncomfortable and walked toward the library, but the doors were closed. Oluwinners cornered her against the doors and grabbed her breasts over her clothing.

The second victim was visibly distraught when talking with police. She described that she was walking to work in downtown Minneapolis when Oluwinners got in her way and would not let her pass. He asked her for a hug, but she declined.

He then grabbed the second victim and started grabbing her waist and butt. He rubbed his genital area on her stomach while she attempted to push him off. Victim 2 tried telling Oluwinners she had to go to work to get him to stop, but he didn’t stop until she started crying.

A third possible victim was located by police and reported that as she was walking on Nicollet Mall, she felt someone grab her buttocks with both hands. Victim 3 was able to get away from Oluwinners into a building. She reported the incident to building security who went outside to locate the suspect. The security officer located the suspect at a nearby bus stop and observed him hold his hands out in an attempt to grope a fourth woman, Victim 4, as she boarded the bus, but he was unable to make contact with her as she boarded the bus. The building security officer reported that a fifth woman who worked inside that building also reported that the suspect groped her.

The complaint briefly references and describes the incidents last month at Brooklyn Park Target and Cub Foods in which Oluwinners allegedly approached at least three women and asked for hugs or a handshake and then proceeded to grope or grab them in some manner.

Oluwinners is currently being held without bail, and a court hearing is scheduled for Monday at 1:30 p.m. on the new charges.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.

 

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.