Brain Injury Survivor Robbed At Own Fundraiser

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police want to know who stole hundreds of dollars from the survivor of a brain injury. A benefit had just finished in her honor when the crime happened Saturday night.

“I am just in shock now and I just feel numb,” said Laurie Schwaab, who can’t believe a gesture of good will from her friends was destroyed in an instant. “I should have been able to walk away with wonderful memories. Unfortunately it ended with a nightmare.”

Schwaab’s high school friends held a benefit at Jimmy’s Bar in Northeast Minneapolis to help raise money to cover her medical expenses. She had emergency brain surgery two months ago.

“I tried to throw it together quickly so we could get something done for her before the holidays. I know she had already started getting bills coming in,” said Holly O’Leary, Schwaab’s high school classmate and organizer of the benefit. “She had $1,250 in an envelope of what I had gotten from the benefit. She had also gotten some cards that either had cash or checks in them that she had not even opened that were all in her purse.”

Schwaab said after the event, she walked out to her car. It was parked just steps away from the front door of the bar.

“This guy said, ‘Excuse me, miss?’ And I said, ‘Yes?’ And he said, ‘Do you have a cigarette?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t smoke.’ … And I just started feeling uneasy and I turned and I put my hand back on the railing and was going to go back up the steps to go back inside,” Schwaab said. “And the next thing I knew, they came flying up behind me, and they grabbed my purse so hard it almost ripped my arm off.”

Schwaab says they made off with everything.

“This isn’t simply about the money that was raised. It’s about my camera was in there, all my photos from forever, my wallet, my personal belonging, everything a woman carries in her purse, “said Schwaab.

Minneapolis police do not have anyone in custody but they are investigating. While police search for the persons responsible, Schwaab can’t sleep because she is constantly wondering why.

Schwaab’s friends are not giving up. They have set up an account to help Laurie at Anoka Hennepin Credit Union in Circle Pines.

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