University student robbed in dorm room

A Centennial Hall resident’s laptop was stolen as he entered his dorm room.

Kevin Behr

University first-year student Bryan Duffy opened the door to his room in Centennial Hall about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when two unknown males attacked him.

One of the males hit Duffy in the back and held him down on the floor while the other stole his laptop worth about $1,100, Duffy said.

“I was jolted and shocked,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all.”

Duffy said his first instinct was to run after the suspects and he ended up chasing them out of the building. While outside, Duffy lost track of the thieves, but when he walked back to Centennial Hall he spotted them near the lobby, he said.

Duffy said he confronted the suspects in a five-minute argument demanding they return his laptop, but they denied having his computer. The altercation occurred in front of a security monitor in the Centennial Hall lobby.

“I told him, ‘These guys stole my laptop,’ but he didn’t do anything,” Duffy said. “That’s what infuriated me the most.”

University police Lt. Chuck Miner said residence hall security monitors are in place to report crimes to police.

“If the victim asked (the guard) for help, I would assume he would help out,” he said.

Instead, Duffy said, the suspects ran out the door.

Security cameras captured the confrontation in the lobby and police are investigating the case, said Steve Johnson, University police deputy chief.

Police posted security camera photos on their Web site to assist in finding the suspects. The photos show the security guard sitting at his desk with his arms folded over his chest.

“He just sat there and watched,” Duffy said. “He didn’t take any action when he’s supposed to make the residence hall safe.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
go to: http://www1.umn.edu/police/
Click on “Burglary-Centennial Hall” under “Crime Alerts.”

Security monitors are there to enforce policies, patrol spaces and provide a visual deterrent to crime as a branch of the University police, said Ben Schnabel, Security Monitor Program director. The job is a student position and monitors do not take part in physical intervention, he said.

“Something going on that requires physical intervention is really rare,” Schnabel said. “They would notify the police if there was a fight going on.”

Schnabel said he spoke to the monitor, who said he may not have handled the situation in an ideal manner because he was caught off-guard and unsure of himself.

Johnson reminded students to be conscious of people they let into residence halls or apartment complexes. Students shouldn’t prop open security doors or buzz in an unknown person, he said.

If someone is fumbling for keys, do not let them in because it could just be their trick to be let in, Johnson said.

Even after following these tips, Duffy was still robbed.

He said it is sad to know people will now commit robberies even if their victims are actually in the room.

“They’ve gone up to the next level,” he said.

Held at gunpoint

A man jumped out of a car, held a gun to a woman’s head and stole her purse in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood late Saturday.

On their way to a party at about 10:30 p.m., Amy Garwood and Britain Gebhardt saw two men on the sidewalk and decided to cross the street and change directions to avoid them, Garwood said.

The two men got into a red car and drove past, leaving the women with a sense of relief, Gebhardt said.

But as they got closer to the party, the red car drove past again and quickly pulled into a nearby driveway, Garwood said.

She and her friend turned around once more to get away from the situation, but one man got out of the car and ran up behind them, she said.

“He grabbed my arm, pulled my purse off of it and put a gun to my head,” Garwood said.

Gebhardt screamed and grabbed her friend’s other arm and ran across the street with her to safety, Gebhardt said.

“I thought he was going to kidnap her,” she said. “It was so fast; it was surreal.”

The thief escaped with Garwood’s purse which had “everything” in it, including her credit cards and checkbook, Garwood said.

“All I have left is my keys and cell phone,” she said.

Minneapolis police Lt. Greg Reinhardt said robberies at gunpoint, especially in the University area are “extremely rare.”

The victims were walking together and took steps to avoid the situation, but “even with precautions, sometimes these things happen,” he said.

Reinhardt said this crime is another in a pattern of increasing violent crime in the city of Minneapolis.