U police investigate campus robbery, catch repeat bookstore thief

Matthew Gruchow

The University Police Department is investigating the Sunday robbery of three female University students.

Two men, who implied they had a gun, approached the three women, who were near Delaware Street Southeast and Walnut Street Southeast, according to the police report.

The report described the suspects as men in their late teens to early 20s, approximately 6 feet tall, with medium to dark hair.

The suspects fled the scene in a red or maroon sedan, said Steve Johnson, deputy police chief for the University Police Department.

No injuries were reported, but one woman struggled with one of the suspects, according to the report.

“I’d give up the property and be safe and get away rather than fight over the property,” Johnson said. “Sometimes, people prevail and they end up

OK, but sometimes, that’s not always the case.”

A second robbery involving a man Sunday, which occurred at the same time, is also being investigated, Johnson said.

Bookstore hijinks

On Jan. 3, a 26-year-old graduate student was caught stealing books from the University bookstore at Coffman Union, a police report said.

The man attempted to leave without paying for two books.

Bookstore security identified the man as having stolen books the previous week, the report said.

Police cited the student for misdemeanor theft and trespassing. The report said he agreed to return the books he had stolen the week before.

“Actually, at the beginning of the semesters, we have officers working at the bookstores,” Johnson said. “And it’s a very, very busy time for them.”

The bookstore has a lot of student customers at the beginning of semesters, but it does not see a lot of thefts, Johnson said.

“There’s a huge volume of business there, and that’s when we have officers working there and working with the security there,” Johnson said.

He also said people should not leave their textbooks unattended.

“People have actually gone and stolen textbooks and then brought them back to the bookstore and sold them for money,” Johnson said.

Guard drunk at gunpoint?

On Jan. 2, police responded to a call placed from University Village after a 19-year-old man reported that he was forced to drink alcohol at gunpoint, according to a police report.

The man, who was working as a security guard for the apartments on University Village’s west side, invited himself to parties in the building, where he became intoxicated, Johnson said.

When talking with police, the guard said two residents forced him to drink liquor at gunpoint, Johnson said.

“He invited himself into a bunch of the parties that night and got pretty drunk,” Johnson said. “Then, he realized his job was in jeopardy, and this was his way of covering up.”

Johnson said the guard later admitted he lied about the incident.

The man was arrested and taken to Hennepin County Jail for filing a false police report.

Placard misuse stopped

Police cited a 49-year-old woman for illegal use of a handicap parking tag Jan. 5, according to a police report.

The woman told University police a friend had given her the permit to use after the friend had moved out of state, according to the report.

Someone other than the suspect’s friend reported the permit stolen in 2000. It was found to have an altered expiration date, the report said.

Bar brawl

On Jan. 1, a University police officer was injured in a tussle with a drunk man at Sally’s Saloon and Eatery on Washington Avenue Southeast.

Employees called the police after the man began assaulting people in the men’s restroom and fighting with bouncers, Johnson said.

The 23-year-old fought with officers, was sprayed with pepper spray and arrested, according to the police report.

“It took four officers to get him under control,” Johnson said.

One officer was punched in the head and shoulder and another was injured in the knee, Johnson said.

The officer with a knee injury will be off work for a month, Johnson said.

The man was booked in the Hennepin County Jail.