Making bail in Crystal

Annual ‘Jail and Bail’ event raises money for Crime Prevention Board

 Almstead’s Fresh Market owner Jim Almstead’s mock mugshot, taken just moments after he was processed by Crystal police during the Crystal Crime Prevention Board’s “Jail and Bail” fundraiser. Almstead was charged with “getting fresh in the bakery” and posted a $100 “bail” to raise money for the crime prevention board. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)
Almstead’s Fresh Market owner Jim Almstead’s mock mugshot, taken just moments after he was processed by Crystal police during the Crystal Crime Prevention Board’s “Jail and Bail” fundraiser. Almstead was charged with “getting fresh in the bakery” and posted a $100 “bail” to raise money for the crime prevention board. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)

“Guilty as charged!” joked Roger Olson just moments after he was released by a uniformed Crystal police officer.

Olson, a manager at Almstead’s Fresh Market, had been “accused” of the heinous crime of “reckless driving of a grocery cart” at the Crystal Crime Prevention Board’s annual Jail and Bail fundraiser May 13 at the Crystal Police Department’s Neighborhood Outreach Office.

Residents, city officials and businesspeople were handed mock charges for ridiculous “crimes,” and then paid “bail” money to secure their freedom and raise money for the board.

The hardened, unrepentant “criminals,” who included Almstead’s owner Jim Almstead and City Council Member Jeff Kolb, were handcuffed and fingerprinted before posting their “bail.” Police Chief Stephanie Revering picked up Almstead and Kolb in an unmarked Crystal police car and brought them to the outreach office in cuffs.

Organizer Pat Bedell acted as a mock judge, wielding a rubber mallet instead of a gavel and setting bail amounts as she saw fit in the moment, often while onlookers egged her to set them higher.

“Anything you say can and – I assure you – will be used against you during this bail proceeding,” she told Kolb, who had been “accused” of operating a fortune-telling business within 500 feet of a city building without a permit.

“Yeah, yeah, get on with it,” Kolb muttered jokingly.

Crystal City Council Member Jeff Kolb is fingerprinted during the Crystal Crime Prevention Board’s annual “Jail and Bail” fundraiser on May 13. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)
Crystal City Council Member Jeff Kolb is fingerprinted during the Crystal Crime Prevention Board’s annual “Jail and Bail” fundraiser on May 13. (Sun Post staff photo by Joe Bowen)

A total of nine people signed up to be “arrested” and bailed out. Their bails were set at amounts ranging from $25 to $100, depending on the apparent severity of their mock offense. Olson paid $25 to get out from under his reckless grocery cart charge.

Bedell said previous Jail and Bail events had raised roughly $1,200 and were easily the crime prevention board’s largest fundraising effort. Money raised by the board is used for a number of projects, including the city’s Blue Light Project and rewards offered for information in real police investigations, such as the mid-March search for Barway Collins.

“This is a great thing that they do here, and I’m happy to participate,” said Olson. “I’ve been throwing myself on the mercy of the court every year.”

Contact Joe Bowen at [email protected]