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Column: Nails in the streets is serious safety hazard

Q: Is someone deliberately tossing nails in the streets of Red Wing?

A: The Red Wing Police Department has received numerous reports of 1-inch roofing nails and construction screws being thrown in the streets around Red Wing.

The first report started around October of last year and involves the following areas: Woodland, Neal, and Siewert Streets, Hi-Park and Hennings. Debris in the roadway is also reported in other areas; however the most repeat offenses are in the areas listed above.

The damage from the screws and nails has easily exceeded $5,000 as many residents have reported replacing tires when the nail has damaged the sidewall of the tire and numerous flats/patches.

City of Red Wing Code, Section 7.07 OBSTRUCTIONS IN STREETS. Subd. 3. Dumping in Streets. It is a misdemeanor for any person to throw or deposit in any street or public sidewalk any nails, dirt, glass or glassware, cans, discarded cloth or clothing, metal scraps, garbage, leaves, grass or tree limbs, paper or paper products, shreds or rubbish, oil, grease or other petroleum products, or to empty any water containing salt or other injurious chemical thereon.

Minnesota Statute 169.42 LITTERING; DROPPING OBJECT ON VEHICLE; MISDEMEANOR. Subdivision 1.Objects on highway. No person shall throw, deposit, place, or dump, or cause to be thrown, deposited, placed, or dumped upon any street or highway or upon any public or privately owned land adjacent thereto without the owner's consent any snow, ice, glass bottle, glass, nails, tacks, wire, cans, garbage, swill, papers, ashes, cigarette filters, debris from fireworks, refuse, carcass of any dead animal, offal, trash or rubbish or any other form of offensive matter, or any other substance likely to injure any person, animal, or vehicle upon any such street or highway.

Numerous other statutes may also apply based on the outcome from the effect of the nail/screw, such as if a tire were to blow out at highway speeds resulting in injury. Also, the potential civil actions that can be brought forth on an individual basis.

RWPD and the Goodhue County Sheriff's Office are working together to find the person or people responsible for these malicious acts. We have implemented several response actions in an effort to identify the suspect responsible for this criminal activity.

We are also asking for the public's assistance in reporting suspicious activity or knowledge that they may have regarding these incidents. Crime Stoppers Minnesota may also be used for reporting tips anonymously, online at: Tips may be reported anonymously, and if the tip directly contributes to the successful felony arrest and conviction of the suspect, the tipster may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

You may also call the Red Wing Police Department non-emergency number at 651-385-3155 to speak with an officer.

I want to assure the residents of Red Wing that we are taking this crime very seriously and working diligently to find the person or people responsible before someone gets hurt. This type of disregard for the safety of our fellow citizens is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.


1. City of Red Wing City Code, Section 7.07 Obstructions in Streets.

2. Minnesota State Statute, 169.42 LITTERING; DROPPING OBJECT ON VEHICLE, located online at:

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