Student robbed, assaulted on East Bank campus

The victim was knocked to the ground and punched repeatedly by four young men.

Amanda Bankston

A University of Minnesota student was robbed and assaulted near Church Street on the East Bank campus Friday evening.

The victim was walking by the east side of Vincent Hall around 7 p.m. when a group of four young men knocked him to the ground and repeatedly punched him, University police Chief Greg Hestness said.

The victim chased the suspects, who took his cellphone and took off running across Northrop Mall. He was eventually helped by a student security monitor who radioed the University police, Hestness said.

Hestness said one of the men was caught and arrested that night, but could not release information about the suspect, who is a minor.

The incident didnâÄôt follow any crime trend or pattern in the area, Hestness said. He believes it is an isolated crime and said the remaining suspects are unlikely to strike again since their âÄúveil of anonymity has been lifted.âÄù

âÄúOne of the things that you rely on is that youâÄôre anonymous and nobody knows who you are,âÄù he said. âÄúWell now in part we know who they are.âÄù

But Hestness said the incident should act as a reminder to students to be aware of their surroundings.

He said students should avoid walking alone at night, especially while using electronic devices. He also said students should use 624-WALK,  the UniversityâÄôs security monitoring program.

In the university-wide crime alert Hestness sent after the event, he said at least two robbery victims in the University area this year were distracted by a cellphone conversation when approached from behind by suspects.

âÄúElectronic distraction really is a threat to people around campus,âÄù he said. âÄúI would recommend students give all their attention to their surroundings.âÄù