St. Paul restaurant owner robbed for sixth time, calls on leaders to end ‘insanity’

Ingram said the rash of burglaries has cost him “thousands upon thousands of dollars” and scared his customers and staff.

Left: Hope Breakfast Bar/Facebook. Right: Criminals smashed through a safe at the Hope Breakfast Bar earlier this week. (Bring Ingram/Facebook)

A St. Paul restaurant owner is speaking out again after he was burglarized for the sixth time in half a year.

Brian Ingram, owner of multiple restaurants throughout the capital city, said his Hope Breakfast Bar was broken into Monday night and money was stolen from a safe.

“This time the safe was bolted down so they had to go all the way through it. We’re so sick of what’s happening in the city of St. Paul right now,” Ingram said in a video posted to Facebook.

“We’re fed up with the leadership that’s happening right now. It’s really crazy what’s happening right now. The store right up the street from us, the shoe store, was just robbed a couple days ago. We keep dealing with all these robberies,” he added.

Ingram first began speaking out in February after two criminals removed a locked safe from the Gnome Craft Pub, another St. Paul establishment he owns. At the time, Ingram said he had been the victim of five burglaries “in less than a few months between all of our restaurants,” including Jan. 24 and Feb. 7 break-ins at the Gnome.

Screenshots from security footage of the Feb. 7 burglary at the Gnome Craft Pub.

A suspect in one of the incidents, Earl Robert Neal York, was previously charged in a string of daytime burglaries in Shoreview and North Oaks, but the Ramsey County attorney’s office dismissed the charges after he was found mentally incompetent.

A criminal complaint filed against York describes him as a “career criminal” with 23 felony convictions. York’s case in connection to the Gnome Craft Pub burglaries is on hold after a judge again found him mentally incompetent, the Pioneer Press reported. Charles Edward Love Sr. has also been charged in connection to the Gnome burglaries.

Ingram thinks these “catch and release” policies are “insanity” and urged local prosecutors to do their jobs.

“We keep seeing our prosecutors refuse to prosecute it,” he said Tuesday, the morning after his business was attacked.

“Moving forward, they’re saying they’re not going to prosecute because he’s not mentally fit and he’s back out on the streets again. 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,” Ingram claimed.

The St. Paul Police Department’s year-end crime statistics show that the city experienced a 14.9% increase in property crimes in 2020, including a 70.5% increase in commercial burglaries and a 32.1% increase in robberies.

Ingram said the rash of burglaries has cost him “thousands upon thousands of dollars” and scared his customers and staff.

“I’m asking again for Melvin Carter to step up and do something. How are you leading our city? We need you,” he said. “We need you to stop talking about what you’re going to do in the future. I need you to talk about what you’re going to do to help crime in our city right now.”