New suspect identified in robbery

The man was seen running through Blegen Hall after Monday’s alleged armed robbery in Anderson Hall.

University police Chief Greg Hestness addresses questions and concerns on Wednesday at UMPD regarding the gunman incident on on Monday.

Lisa Persson

University police Chief Greg Hestness addresses questions and concerns on Wednesday at UMPD regarding the gunman incident on on Monday.

Cody Nelson

University of Minnesota police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a person of interest in Monday’s alleged armed robbery in Anderson Hall.

University police sent a campus-wide email Wednesday containing security camera stills showing a man running through Blegen Hall one minute after the incident.

The robbery put the campus on alert Monday amid reports the suspect had a gun. Police told students, faculty and staff to seek shelter while they searched. The suspect got away, and the shelter-in-place order was lifted.

That evening, University police sent a campus-wide email with a security camera image of a man police said they believed to be the suspect. Wednesday’s email said the man had since been identified and cleared of any wrongdoing.

The man approached police after realizing he was a suspect, University police Chief Greg Hestness said.

During the search, Hestness said he quickly realized that the victim’s description of the suspect, distributed to campus via text alerts during the search, was too vague to be very useful.

“I ended up stopping a couple of guys, and within one or two, I kind of determined, ‘This is a very common description,’” he said.

University spokesperson Steve Henneberry said the school’s alert system sent more than 68,000 text messages giving students, faculty and staff updates Monday afternoon.

Though the system had some technical issues, Hestness said, it was “a pretty effective means of getting a message out.”

Hestness said police will increase patrols in the area following Monday’s robbery, and University police are working with other metro police departments to investigate several crimes that occurred on or near campus.

“We’re doing a tremendous amount of analysis,” he said.

Hestness said this fall’s crime is similar to past years, but students shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 if they feel they’re in danger.

Hestness said there have been 17 robberies in the campus area, including two that were on campus.

“When you’re trying to tell [parents], ‘It’s all average and it used to be worse,’ it’s not a very comforting thing to say,” he said. “Statistically and in reality, our campus remains very, very safe.”