Student robbed at BB gun-point Friday night

Another student was robbed at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

by Kyle Sando

Two University of Minnesota students were robbed around the University Village area within the past week, one at gunpoint.

A student was robbed at gunpoint south of Essex Street Southeast while walking along 27th Avenue Southeast on Friday. Another student was robbed while walking west on the 2800 block of University Avenue, according to an alert sent by University police Chief Greg Hestness.

Hestness said the details of both cases are similar, but it isnâÄôt yet clear if they are related.

The victim of the armed robbery had her cell phone in hand when the suspect pointed a gun at her, according to a Minneapolis police report. Police later determined it was a BB gun found discarded nearby.

According to the report, the victim tried to call police, but the suspect took her phone before she could get in touch with anyone. She began screaming for help, which a witness heard and then chased the suspect eastward on Essex Street.

The witness said he would be able to identify the suspect, according to the report.

Hestness said the 2:30 p.m. time of a Sunday âÄústrong-armâÄù robbery along University Avenue Southeast was atypical, as the victim was robbed along a very busy street and in broad daylight.

A police report detailing the robbery said the victim saw the suspect walking his direction shortly before the two met on the sidewalk. The suspect demanded his phone, and the victim produced an iPod Touch from his pocket. The suspect grabbed the iPod and demanded to know the password. When the victim yelled for help, the suspect ran.

Hestness said that in both cases the perpetrator descriptions from witnesses were too generic to create any strong leads. Minneapolis police are currently investigating both robberies.

Door pried open in Social Sciences building, no loss reported.

Building and grounds workers found a door pried open in the Social Sciences building Sunday night. Security cameras did not capture the suspect on video.

This is the latest in a series of break-ins into campus buildings since the beginning of the semester. About two weeks ago, University police reported burglaries at Akerman Hall, Lind Hall and the Mechanical Engineering building.

William Fimon, a senior buildings and grounds worker at the University, said he was performing regular duties when an employee told him of an open door to a room Fimon had seen securely closed only 15 minutes earlier. He called the police.

Officers saw fresh pry marks on the door at each of its latches, according to a University police report.

Fimon said nothing was taken, most likely because large printers and copiers were the only equipment in the room.

Fimon said he was surprised at how quickly the room was broken into. He said the suspect must have used the stairwell nearby to get to the first floor after leaving, as the motion-activated lights in the lobby were tripped.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said police usually see burglaries on the East Bank, while West Bank buildings are secure.

Fimon was unsure how the suspect got into the building because every entrance requires an electronic key.

University police will continue to investigate.