University custodian fights off robbers

When Ramon Acevedo, a custodian at the University of Minnesota had finished his shift early Thursday morning, two teenagers approached him near Smith Hall. According to Acevedo, he was walking toward his moped, and the teenagers asked if it was his. When Acevedo said yes, one of the would-be thieves pulled out a knife and said, âÄúThis scooterâÄôs mine now.âÄù Although the police report stated Acevedo only took a fighting stance, the former golden glove boxer said he fought back. âÄúI threw a couple punches,âÄù Acevedo said. âÄúI was ready to dance a little bit.âÄù The teenagers then took off running, the 52-year-old Acevedo said. âÄúIâÄôm a little old, but I never forgot my stuff,âÄù he said. The University of Minnesota Police Department recommends compliance in situations like these, but that self defense is allowed, Sgt. Erik Stenemann said, even though fighting back can be dangerous. âÄúIf you do decide to fight back, even if they donâÄôt fight back, youâÄôre risking an injury,âÄù Stenemann said. Anita Bendickson , a self-defense teacher at the University, said she never recommends students to risk their lives for material objects. âÄúYou really need to think through the risks of resistance,âÄù she said. âÄúYour life and your health are much more important and much less replaceable than any possession.âÄù AcevedoâÄôs manager, Lenoy Loudermill, said he asked the police if they could send someone to talk to his staff about how to treat these kinds of situations. âÄúWe want them to make good decisions in how they react,âÄù he said. âÄúOur plan is to do some extra training.âÄù Stenemann said after instances like these, police are asked to give more public safety talks. âÄúWe handle at least one a month, if not more, talking to groups about the state of campus crime and also hinging on that, personal safety recommendations,âÄù he said. Loudermill said Acevedo was lucky. âÄúI think he was fortunate it was just young kids that were more afraid of him than he was of them,âÄù Loudermill said. âÄúOur recommendation to our people is to look at the situation.âÄù Acevedo said he lives in a dangerous part of South Minneapolis and was prepared for it. âÄúI see them come with a knife, IâÄôll fight them back,âÄù he said. âÄúIf I see them pull a gun on me, thatâÄôs a different story.âÄù Bendickson also recommended examining the situation first. âÄúThe thing that you have to look at is âÄòWhat are the risks here, and what am I risking?âÄù she said. Acevedo said he doesnâÄôt consider himself a violent person, âÄúbut you know, I donâÄôt let nobody come and try to take what I got.âÄù âÄúThese people, when they see another person thatâÄôs afraid, thatâÄôs why they act. But they see you respond, they take off,âÄù he said. âÄúI take a chance.âÄù According to University police, the suspects were last seen running toward the Washington Avenue Bridge. They were both described as 16- to 17-year-old East African males, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall with thin builds. One was wearing a black baseball cap, black jacket and blue jeans, while the other had a white, pull-over style sweater and blue jeans.