U-area hit by robberies and car break-ins

Police say they tracked down a 16-year-old who allegedly robbed five at Ferguson Hall.

Tiffany Lukk

Cellphones were a popular target for thieves last week across the University of Minnesota and its surrounding areas.
At least three cellphones have been stolen since last week. Also, two car break-ins and one home break-in were reported, among other crimes.
Home break-in
A group of University students had their home broken into Feb. 24.
History senior Christopher Simmerman said after he was awoken by footsteps outside of his door, a man entered his room. He said it seemed like the man was surprised to see him.
After he found the room occupied, the man said, “Sorry, wrong room,” and left, according to the police report.
Simmerman went back to sleep and found a broken window and unlocked door in the morning, the report said.
Police told Simmerman there were other break-ins in the area as well, he said.
Cellphone held for ransom
A University of Minnesota student had her cellphone stolen at a party on University Avenue Southeast Sunday night.
A man later called the victim’s parents and said he was holding the phone ransom. 
He tried to set a meeting time to get money for returning the cellphone, the report said.
The victim noticed two men sitting by her and said she thinks one of them stole it, according to the police report.
Radio thefts
Two cars were broken into and had their radios stolen, according to police reports.
One car was robbed on Sixth Street Southeast, and the other was robbed on Fourth Street Southeast, the reports said.
University of Minnesota Police Department Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the two thefts could be related. 
“In general, especially if the time frame is similar, it’s not uncommon for a thief to start with one car and just work on others in the area,” he said. 
Ferguson Hall thefts
A 16-year-old boy allegedly robbed five people at Ferguson Hall on Sunday, Miner said.
The juvenile allegedly stole at least two phones, Miner said.
Police were able to locate the boy from GPS tracking on one of the phones, he said.
Miner said police located the boy in a light rail car. He said police were able to make the phone create noise remotely and followed the sound to the back of the car, where the juvenile was found.
The two stolen cellphones and a black BB gun were found when police searched the boy’s backpack, Miner said. 
He was arrested for carrying a weapon without a permit, trespassing and theft, according to the report.