Police: robberies might be connected

by Kevin Behr

.Police believe two robberies that occurred within minutes of each other in the Southeast Como neighborhood early Friday might be connected.

A third robbery early Saturday, which yielded three arrests, might also be related, police said.

At about 12:40 a.m., marketing senior Kayla Anderson walked alone along Como Avenue Southeast to meet a friend and crossed 20th Avenue when a man got out of a car and pointed a gun at her.

“He said, ‘We can make this real easy. Give me your purse,'” Anderson said.

Instead of complying, she screamed and ran in the opposite direction toward a group of people she had passed about 20 yards away.

She said she screamed, “He’s got a gun!” and the group followed her down the street. During their retreat, someone called 911, but the would-be robber had fled the area.

“I’m one of the most paranoid people on the planet,” Anderson said. “The one time I walk alone, it scared the wits out of me.”

Five minutes later, two University students entering a house on 17th Avenue Southeast were approached by two unknown men.

Minneapolis police Lt. Amelia Huffman said they displayed a handgun and demanded the pair’s money.

Huffman said the suspects made off with their wallets and fled in a white car.

She said the descriptions of suspects given in both cases were consistent and police will use the information to see if the two crimes are related.

The third robbery happened on campus Saturday shortly after 1 a.m. and netted three arrests by University police. The robbery fueled suspicion that it could be related to the first two robberies.

Family social science junior Beth Kremer said she was walking on University Avenue across the street from Sanford Hall when three men coming from the opposite direction tried to steal her purse.

“It was tucked under my shoulder, and so when it didn’t come off, they shoved me down to the ground, grabbed my purse and took off,” she said.

A security monitor saw the robbery and called police.

Steve Johnson, deputy chief of University police, said officers later spotted the suspect in a vehicle and stopped it. Inside, they found a gun and Kremer’s purse. The three occupants were arrested on probable cause for felony robbery, Johnson said.

He said he would not elaborate on the details of the car or the arrest.

“It’s possible (the cases are related), but there’s nothing that absolutely proves it,” he said.

All three cases are under further investigation to see if they are related.

Rollins Avenue assault

Two men assaulted two University students as they walked along 15th Avenue Southeast early Tuesday, police said.

Huffman said the students were walking beneath the bridge near Rollins Avenue in the Como neighborhood when the suspects approached and assaulted them without any provocation.

One student suffered an injured nose and a cut beneath his eye, Huffman said. The other student didn’t have any visible injuries, but still complained of being assaulted, she said.

The suspects fled before officers arrived and no further investigation will take place, police said.

“There wasn’t very much detail available because the victims were intoxicated,” Huffman said.