Student victim of attempted armed robbery inside Carlson

A suspect threatened a student, saying he had a gun, inside a University building on West Bank Sunday.

Nicolas Hallett

A University of Minnesota student was the victim of an attempted armed robbery in the Carlson School of Management Sunday afternoon, according to an email crime alert sent by University Police Chief Greg Hestness to faculty, staff and students on Monday.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner addressed the media Tuesday and said they had not apprehended any suspects, but had received one “good” tip.

The student was in the CSOM atrium studying around 3:30 p.m. when the suspect asked for his laptop, saying he had a gun but not showing one, according to the alert.

After giving the suspect his laptop, the victim cried for help and then chased the suspect through the doors facing South 19th Avenue and South Fourth Street, the alert said.

Finance and marketing junior Kelsy Muehlbauer said she was in a CSOM break room when she saw two men fighting and heard one of them shout for help.

Then, other students attempted to intervene, she said, and the suspect ran out of the building with a backpack as the victim chased after him.

Muehlbauer said she called police and the victim returned with the backpack. The alert said the suspect dropped the laptop during the chase and the victim got it back.

“It was really scary, because you never think that that would happen in Carlson,” she said. “I thought he was going to come into my break room because he was right there, so I turned off the lights and made everyone in my break room hide.”

The alert described the suspect as a 5-foot-6-inch to a 5-foot-8-inch tall black male, with silver caps on his lower front teeth, “unshaven facial hair,” who was wearing a navy blue hoodie, shoes with white on the top half and red on the bottom half.

Police believe the suspect had an accomplice, who wore a boot-style walking cast on his left foot, acting as a lookout. The alert had a link to security footage of the alleged suspect and his accomplice entering CSOM.

This is the 16th crime alert for 22 crimes University police have sent this semester. 

Miner said University police haven’t reported an overnight robbery in 20 days because of their focus on this time period and officers working overtime for “several” weeks.

But University police have sent out three crime alerts for armed robberies that occurred during the day in that timeframe.

“Unfortunately, the criminals are changing their tactics and the time of day where they’re working so we will adjust accordingly,” he said.

Management junior Spencer Price said he also witnessed the incident on Sunday, and that the victim told him and Muehlbauer that he fought back because he didn’t believe the suspect actually had a gun.

Miner said he encourages students to yell loudly if they are victims of crimes, but generally doesn’t condone pursuing attackers.

“We tell people to fight for themselves or their physical safety, but when it comes to their property, just give it up,” he said.

Miner said the University has been in discussions since early this semester to add cameras, lighting and stricter card access to buildings. He said he couldn’t say when the University would implement these changes and that funding was a factor.

The attempted robbery is the second reported inside a University building this semester. A gunman attempted to rob a student in Anderson Hall a little more than a month ago.

Miner said the crimes this semester in particular have been closer to campus and inside buildings, which is a change.

“I think we are seeing some desperation now,” he said. “We will certainly adjust as needed, adjust our hours as needed, and continue to match the needs of the University.”