Police link area robbery to two Minneapolis thefts

Thomas Douty

For the second time in two weeks a University-area business was robbed, but Minneapolis police said the two incidents are unrelated.
A man walked into the Econolodge, located at 2500 University Ave. SE, with what appeared to be a weapon in his jacket pocket. He then demanded money from Maria Pino, who was working at the front desk.
The robber fled the scene with about $223, but not before being photographed by the motel’s surveillance camera. Minneapolis police hope to have a picture of the man available by today.
Police said the suspect is a 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 white male with a medium build and is assumed to be between 30 and 40 years old. He was wearing a dark jacket and jeans at the time of the robbery.
Minneapolis Police Sgt. Bill Chaplin said the suspect fits the description of a man who robbed two other businesses in Minneapolis.
Chaplin said that although the man’s description is vague, the three robberies are very similar on the surface.
Comparable situations occurred at Tower Grocery at the intersection of Bedford Street and University Avenue Southeast, and at The Holiday Inn Express on 11th Street in downtown Minneapolis, he said. Although a weapon was not seen in the Econolodge robbery, a black automatic pistol was displayed at the earlier robberies.
“Usually robbers tend to be very consistent in their method of operation and their target,” Chaplin said. “They tend to pick the one type of business and keep hitting those.”
On Jan. 20, a man robbed Harvard Market East, located on Washington Avenue Southeast, and fled with about $150. Minneapolis police currently do not have a suspect for this robbery and are not linking it to the Econolodge robbery.

Thomas Douty covers police and courts and welcomes comments at [email protected] He also can be reached at 627-4070 x3223.