Students robbed at knifepoint

Two roommates are recovering after being robbed and stabbed early Monday morning.

Kia Farhang

Two University of Minnesota students were robbed at knifepoint early Monday just outside the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood, according to Minneapolis police.

The incident is one of a few high-profile crimes to take place near campus in the last couple of weeks.

The women, who are roommates, were walking home from downtown Minneapolis at about 12:15 a.m. when a masked man began following them, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said.

As the women stopped at the intersection of East Hennepin and Northeast University avenues, the man grabbed one of them by the waist, held a knife to her throat, and demanded money, Garcia said.

The roommates gave the man a small amount of money, Garcia said. One screamed, and the suspect stabbed the woman he had grabbed in the back. He slashed the second woman in the arm and cut her brachial artery, Garcia said.

The woman who was stabbed in the back used her shirt to apply pressure to her friend’s wound until police arrived with a tourniquet. Garcia said her help may have saved the woman’s life.

The suspect fled when a witness saw the incident, and he is still at large. Police are reviewing nearby surveillance footage in search of evidence, said Minneapolis police spokesman Scott Seroka.

Both women were in stable condition at the Hennepin County Medical Center as of Monday afternoon.

The nonprofit organization Crime Stoppers of Minnesota is offering an award of up to $1,000 for a tip leading to an arrest in this case.

Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said police occasionally seek help from Crime Stoppers for cases in which they think financial backing will lead to valuable information.

The service can be useful, Elder said, but police are conservative in seeking the help of Crime Stoppers because they realize the organization “is not a bottomless pit of money.”

Man robbed on West Bank

Hennepin Technical College student Mahmoud Ismael was robbed at gunpoint Thursday evening, prompting University police to send a crime alert to students, faculty and staff Friday.

Ismael parked his car near the University’s West Bank at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday on his way to study at Wilson Library. Ismael said he was waiting to cross Riverside Avenue when he noticed three men following him.

Ismael said he was talking on the phone, and one of the men asked to borrow it.

Ismael said after he ignored the group, they followed him across the street and one of the men pushed Ismael down a set of stairs. One man had a knife, and another held a gun to Ismael’s head demanding his phone.

Ismael was slightly injured in the incident. He said he often studies at Wilson Library and though he’s heard of crime in the area, he was surprised that the incident happened while there was still daylight.

The alert that University police sent was the fifth since January. Last semester, University police sent 16 crime alerts for 22 crimes.

Student’s car robbed

Kinesiology sophomore Cassidy Weber’s car was broken into Thursday.

When she got to her car, which was parked along 11th Avenue Southeast, Weber said she realized right away it had been ransacked.

The car’s console and glove box were open, and Weber said about $100 in cash and personal belongings were missing.

A friend of Weber’s, who had recently borrowed the vehicle, had left the car unlocked.

Though she’s upset by the loss, Weber said she’s not entirely surprised.

“We live in a big city,” she said. “It happens.”