Victims: Mpls police not following leads

More than a month after the crimes, victims from five robberies said they had not yet seen a lineup.

Victims: Mpls police not following leads

James Nord

Minneapolis police initially identified a possible connection between a series of crimes near the University of Minnesota and in south Minneapolis, but they have not conducted a thorough investigation into the crimes. On Jan. 25, two robberies and a shooting occurred near campus. In the hour and a half before, there were four robberies in south Minneapolis, and less than two hours later a robbery was reported a little more than two miles away. All seven robberies were committed with similar motives by suspects with similar descriptions âÄî black males between 16 and 22 years old, around 5 feet 8 inches tall with light builds. At a Feb. 11 press conference, Minneapolis police said they had arrested 16-year-old Derrell Jacori Cole and a 21-year-old in connection with the two University robberies. Capt. Amelia Huffman said police believed the crimes were âÄúpart of a larger crime spree these two were on.âÄù The next day, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia said, âÄúThey are in no way going to link these robberies [at] the U of M to the ones in south Minneapolis âĦ none of the victims out there could pick out these two suspects out of a photo lineup.âÄù However, when contacted by The Minnesota Daily this week, more than a month after the original crimes, every victim from the five south Minneapolis robberies said they had not been shown a lineup by police, and one had received a letter indicating his investigation was suspended. âÄúI feel with a little more effort they certainly could have probably brought resolution to both of the cases,âÄù said Dale Longtin, a victim in one of the crimes. âÄúBut it doesnâÄôt sound like theyâÄôre real interested in looking into it any deeper.âÄù In an e-mail statement Feb. 26, Minneapolis police Lt. Mike Fossum said the department is still investigating a possible connection between the University and south Minneapolis crimes but refused further comment. A spokesman for a local police department speaking generally said that in a typical robbery investigation, victims are shown a lineup soon after suspects have been identified. âÄúObviously, the quicker we can get to the witness or the victim, the better,âÄù the spokesman said. The Hennepin County AttorneyâÄôs Office has not charged the 21-year-old suspect in any crime, pending further investigation. Cole has a juvenile court hearing Wednesday to decide if he will be tried as an adult for the two University robberies. University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said a driver has also been identified, and police are working to build a case against that person. Lake Street area 9:38 p.m. to 10:36 p.m., Jan. 25 At 9:38 p.m., two men robbed Andrew Schmidt, 28, at gunpoint near Grand Avenue South and 34th Street West, according to a police report. The suspects removed items from SchmidtâÄôs pockets and ordered him to walk away before firing a gunshot and fleeing the scene. Schmidt said he recognized one of the men who robbed him when he saw his picture on a news broadcast during coverage of the 21-year-oldâÄôs arrest in relation to the University crimes. On Sunday, Schmidt contacted Minneapolis police to inquire about the status of the investigation. Police told him they had a photo lineup available for his viewing. They had not contacted him prior to that, Schmidt said. At 10 p.m., four men robbed Cecil Little Eagle near 10th Avenue South and 29th Street East, according to a police report. The men knocked him off his bike, which they stole, and attempted to take his wallet, he said. Little Eagle, 48, said the men kicked him on the ground, but the group fled after he brandished a logging chain that he took from around his neck. Little Eagle said police called and asked him to view a lineup about a week and a half after the incident. Although Little Eagle said he agreed to the request, police have yet to contact him again. At 10:20 p.m., two men robbed Dale Longtin, 26, at gunpoint near Colfax Avenue South and 31st Street West. The men stole his iPhone, wallet and pocket knife before they fled. âÄúThey wanted cash, they wanted drugs, they wanted everything,âÄù Longtin said. Shortly after the robbery, police showed Longtin one man, but he said the man was significantly older than those who committed his crime. Longtin also offered to allow police to track his stolen iPhone using GPS technology similar to that used by University police in their initial investigation. Police declined the offer, he said. Weeks later, Longtin received a letter from Fossum that read: âÄúYour case has been reviewed and it has been determined that there are insufficient leads to warrant further investigation.âÄù Longtin also said he recognized the 21-year-old when he saw his picture on the news. âÄúIt was pretty much instantly,âÄù Longtin said. âÄúI donâÄôt think itâÄôs just that I wanted it âĦ I recognized the face.âÄù At 10:36 p.m., two black males robbed Jae Phillips, 28, at gunpoint near Lyndale Avenue South and West 24th Street, according to a police report. Phillips surrendered his belongings after being jumped from behind by two men. As of Saturday, Phillips had not been contacted by police. University of Minnesota campus 10:50 p.m. to 11:05 p.m., Jan. 25 At 10:50 p.m., two black men robbed University student Carrie Bishop on the 500 block of Huron Boulevard Southeast. The men demanded she give up her belongings, and she said she saw at least one gun. Bishop has been shown at least one lineup by University police, who are handling the investigation of the University crimes. At 11 p.m., the same suspects robbed two women outside Moos Tower, University police said. The men ordered the women to surrender backpacks and cell phones and were believed to be armed. At 11:05 p.m., after fleeing the second robbery, police believe the suspects shot University student Timothy Schumacher outside of Centennial Hall on Delaware Street Southeast. The men said something to Schumacher, and when he turned they shot him in the abdomen. University cameras caught the suspects fleeing the scene and getting into a car parked between Centennial and Territorial Halls. The car was driven by a third suspect, University police said. South Minneapolis 12:50 a.m., Jan. 26 At 12:50 a.m., Brandon Dorsey, 27, was waiting for a bus at 28th Avenue South and Lake Street East when three black males attempted to rob him. Two of the suspects fit the descriptions of those from the campus robberies. One man attempted to grab DorseyâÄôs backpack, but Dorsey escaped and ran toward his apartment. Another suspect fired at least three rounds at Dorsey as he fled, according to a police report. âÄúI donâÄôt know him by name or nothing like that,âÄù Dorsey said. âÄúBut I saw him beautifully.âÄù