Police: series of spring robberies could be related

Victims have given similar descriptions in the crimes, which started in February.

Luke Feuerherm

When Walter Library closed at midnight late one night last week, University of Minnesota sophomore Tyler Anderson packed his books into his bag and made his usual walk home.
But a block before Anderson reached his Dinkytown home, three men grabbed him and quickly stripped him of his backpack, wallet and cell phone before shoving him to the ground and sprinting away.
âÄúWhat was running through my head is, âÄòThese guys know what theyâÄôre doing,âÄôâÄù Anderson said. âÄúIt probably took them 45 seconds to one minute, max.âÄù
Minneapolis police now believe AndersonâÄôs mugging is part of a string of crimes by a group of Hispanic males matching the same description, and on one occasion joined by a Hispanic female.
The group may be responsible for as many as four robberies in the Dinkytown area, according to a crime alert.
The suspects did not appear to have weapons but threatened to hurt Anderson if he tried to resist.
The tactics used by the suspects matches the other three robberies. In each incident, a group of Hispanics approached the victim, demanded or took valuables and forced the victim to the ground before running away.
AndersonâÄôs mugging is the latest of four. ItâÄôs the only case to which the Minneapolis police have assigned an investigator because of the amount of detail Anderson provided, Minneapolis police Sgt. Steve McCarty said.
âÄúUnfortunately with a lot of robberies like this the investigators run into a dead end,âÄù McCarty said.
After the incident, Anderson raced to his house to call police and then canceled his credit card.
By the time he called his credit card company, the thieves had already charged about $60 at a BP gas station. They made a second trip about a half-hour later but then the card had been canceled and was rejected.
Minneapolis police are handling the investigation but late last week, soon after Anderson was mugged, University police sent an email crime alert to students.
Anderson said he was surprised when he opened the email and quickly realized that he was the victim in the description.
âÄúYou never think that that sort of thing is going to happen to someone you know,âÄù Anderson said.
The late walk home was ordinary for the sophomore, who has never had problems with safety in the past.
Anderson was about to send a text message when the three men quickly came up from behind and jumped him.
In one case, the suspects used a âÄúdark-colored sedanâÄù to drive away.
Anderson said he did not see the three men get into a sedan after the mugging. He wasnâÄôt surprised the group is targeting the area.
âÄúWhen you think about it, what student has a knife on them?âÄù Anderson said. âÄúAnd what student doesnâÄôt have a laptop and a cell phone?âÄù
Minneapolis police are conducting interviews and searching for possible surveillance footage of the suspects, which is a long shot because the incidents occurred too far into the Dinkytown neighborhood, McCarty said.