Minneapolis police look into robbery near the U

by Matthew Gruchow

Minneapolis police are investigating the robbery of two female University students near campus Saturday, according to a police report.

The women were walking with friends in the area of 17th Street Southeast and Como Avenue Southeast shortly after midnight, said University sophomore Sarah Nielsen, one of the robbery victims.

“We were in a big group, in a well lighted place with cars on the road,” Nielsen said.

A man ran out of a side street, pointed a gun at one of Nielsen’s friends and demanded their purses, she said.

Nielsen was grabbed by the arm and struck in the mouth with the gun, she said. She said she suffered a chipped tooth and a broken tooth in the incident.

“I was screaming, ‘Call 911,’ because I was bleeding from the mouth,” Nielsen said.

The suspect is described as a man between 20 and 30 years old, according to the report.

Minneapolis police spokesman Ron Reier described the suspect as approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build.

The suspect was last seen wearing a black puffy coat, Reier said.

Despite losing her purse, Nielsen said, she is grateful nothing worse happened.

“A ton of other things could have happened,” she said. “We could have been shot or raped or anything. We’re all very grateful. We have great support from our family and friends.”

Nielsen said other University students should not live in fear because of the robbery.

“I don’t think you can live your life all scared,” she said. “Stuff like this happens, and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Residents can help police identify a suspect by paying particular attention to details such as height and other features, Reier said.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “If you start seeing people and you’re uncomfortable, start taking mental notes to help prevent you from becoming a victim.”

Marijuana in the dorms

University police responded to a narcotics complaint Sunday at Pioneer Hall, according to a police report.

One resident was cited for possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, the police report stated.

On Saturday, two other students were ticketed in separate drug incidents in Frontier Hall and Comstock Hall, according to police reports.

Both students had small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the reports.

Scalping to the police

University police arrested a 40-year-old man Saturday after he offered to sell scalped tickets to an undercover officer at Mariucci Arena.

The man tried to sell the officer two tickets to a game for $50 each, according to the police report.

The actual price of the tickets was $29 each, the report said.

Police issued the man a ticket, confiscated the game tickets and released him, the report stated.

Police run sting operations to catch ticket scalpers randomly and frequently, said Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for the University Police Department.

“Over the years, it’s ongoing been a problem with more people out on the avenue trying to sell tickets and approaching people,” Johnson said.

Buying tickets from scalpers can be risky, he said.

“When you’re buying tickets out on the street, you’re really taking a risk, because sometimes tickets are stolen or lost,” Johnson said. “If you buy those tickets and show up, you could be out some money and maybe in trouble too.”

Dinkytown McDonald’s fight

University police responded to what was described as a large fight at the Dinkytown McDonald’s early Sunday morning, according to a police report.

It is unknown how many people were involved, Johnson said.

“The crowd dispersed as the officers arrived,” he said.

It is believed weapons were not involved, he said.

Officers recovered a backpack filled with alcohol at the scene, the report said.