Rash of robberies strike U neighborhoods

The robberies plaguing the Marcy-Holmes area appear not to be related.

by Kevin Behr

At least four robberies have occurred in the neighborhoods surrounding campus since Saturday.

At about 1 a.m. Tuesday, an unknown man attempted to rob a University student in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, the student said.

Political science junior John Sandberg said while walking to a friend’s house, he fell into a conversation with a man urinating on a tree.

During their conversation, the man offered Sandberg drugs numerous times, but Sandberg said he refused each time.

“He was being a hard-pressed salesman,” Sandberg said. “He wouldn’t let me go.”

The suspect then asked Sandberg if he even had any money. Sandberg replied saying he had about $5.

He said that’s when the suspect claimed to have a gun and demanded the money.

Sandberg said he didn’t believe the man had a gun and tried to walk away, but the suspect grabbed him, and a small scuffle broke out between the two.

“He tried to punch me,” Sandberg said. “But somehow he missed or stopped. Something scared him, and then he just left.”

Police said Sandberg escaped without loss or injury, and the case will remain open pending further information or leads regarding the suspect and his whereabouts.

Sandberg said the incident surprised him. He said he’s never had problems walking alone at night in Dinkytown.

Other incidents

At about 6 p.m. Saturday, two men robbed a woman of her purse on University Avenue Southeast in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, according to a police report.

Police said the suspects attacked the victim from behind and held her on the ground while they stole her purse.

The men then got into a car driven by a third, unidentified suspect and fled the scene, police said.

On Monday at about 2 p.m., a man walking near the intersection of 14th Avenue Southeast and 8th Street Southeast was robbed at gunpoint, according to a police report.

Police said the case will remain open pending further information.

Five hours after that incident, two suspects robbed another man of his wallet and cell phone in the Prospect Park neighborhood, according to a police report.

Officers were unable to locate the suspects in the area.

Robberies related?

Minneapolis Police Lt. Amelia Huffman said none of the robberies appear to be related. She said the suspect descriptions, methods of the crimes and their locations were all inconsistent.

The cases will remain under investigation, but vague suspect descriptions make it especially hard, Huffman said.

“Typically, the victims are concentrating on getting out of the situation rather than memorizing the details of what the robber looks like,” she said.

To avoid being a victim of these kinds of crimes, people should walk in well-lit areas with at least one other person, Huffman said. She also advised against carrying more money or credit cards than needed and not to carry them in purses or backpacks because these are easy targets for thieves.