Marcy-Holmes armed robbery victim fears for life

At least two more robberies occured in the Marcy-Holmes area this week.

Kevin Behr

.Peter Byrns lay in a puddle of rainwater with a gun pointed to his head in a parking lot in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood Sunday.

“At this point, I thought I was gonna die,” he said.

Byrns, 40, of Shafer, Minn., said he was taking a break from his job as a printer at American Spirit Graphics on 9th Street Southeast when he saw a co-worker’s car leave the parking lot and pull into another nearby lot, seemingly for no reason.

He said he also saw a man walking down the street, constantly looking over his shoulder at Byrns, but Byrns eventually lost track of the man.

When he went to see why his co-worker’s car left the lot, the man walking down the street returned.

The man jumped over a fence, put a gun to Byrns’ head and demanded all of his money, Byrns said. He was forced to the ground and laid in a puddle about an inch deep, created by the rain the day before.

“I thought he was going to shoot me,” Byrns said. “He was a young kid. He didn’t care if I had a family.”

Byrns said he reached in his pocket and gave the $11 he had, fearing for his life and worrying about his 5- and 10-year-old boys.

“All I thought about was my kids,” he said, holding back tears.

Once Byrns handed the money over, the suspect instructed him to stand up and return the stolen car to the parking lot.

Byrns said he got up and began walking to the car, afraid of being shot in the back. He said he checked over his shoulder numerous times to keep tabs on the suspect, and when he disappeared, Byrns ran inside and called 911.

Minneapolis police Lt. Amelia Huffman said the robbery unit will compare the suspect’s description against other cases to see if there are any patterns. For now, however, the police have no solid leads and will investigate further if more information becomes available, she said.

Byrns took a day off from work to spend some time with his kids and is still shaken from the incident.

“They were pretty shaken up,” he said. “When I told my 10-year-old, he was in tears.”

Man robbed of phone, $5

Three men robbed a man walking near the intersection of 7th Street and 7th Avenue Southeast late Monday, according to a police report.

Ben Campbell, who graduated with a degree in sociology last December, said he was on his way to a store around 11:15 p.m. in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood when three men ran up behind him and demanded his wallet and cell phone, saying they had a gun.

Two of the men surrounded him while the third punched him, Campbell said.

“I asked him, ‘What’d you do that for?’ ” he said. “I wasn’t resisting or anything.”

No one answered as the men took Campbell’s cell phone and wallet with $5 inside and ran off. Campbell said he later checked his phone records and said they had made 20 to 30 calls to seven different numbers. He said he even got a voicemail message saying, “You think you can put a gun to my head? You don’t think I don’t have a gun?”

He said the message seems like it had gang connections and called it “odd.”

The case is currently under further investigation by the robbery unit, Huffman said.

Cell phone agreement

A man with a gun robbed another man of his cell phone Friday in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood.

According to police, the suspect approached the victim and his girlfriend in a parking lot at about 10:45 p.m. The suspect displayed a handgun and demanded the victim’s wallet, Huffman said.

The victim claimed his wallet was empty and instead offered his cell phone to the thief, she said.

Apparently, the robber agreed the cell phone would be acceptable, took it and fled.

The case has been assigned to an investigator who will monitor phone records to see if it is used. If so, it would give the police a trail to follow, which could lead to the suspect, Huffman said.