MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The biking community in Minneapolis is on alert after two recent robberies on the Greenway, one of which targeted a Minneapolis woman who works at a bike shop.
Kaitlin Knutson, 24, is back at work at the Dinkytown Varsity Bike Shop, and is now bearing a visible warning for all cyclists: marks of survival from a terrifying ride home.
Knutson was riding on the Greenway bike trail around 8:30 p.m. Monday when two men approached. One then lunged towards her, pushing her off her bike.
“The other guy came up from behind me and wrapped my scarf around my face and then they just starting hitting me a bunch,” said Knutson.
Knutson gave them her backpack with her phone and wallet, but said the men kept beating her, dragging her off into the woods.
“I thought they were going to knock me out, rape me, kill me or something,” said Knutson. “I kind of thought it was over and I was screaming bloody murder.”
At that very second, Ebbin Martin rode by on his way home, first seeing Knutson’s tail light from her tipped bike. He said he screamed and charged the men, who took off up the 12th Avenue bridge steps.
“I wish it would have been me because I was the next person in line,” said Martin. “I would have been a much harder target.”
Martin then helped calm Kaitlin, who now says he’s her hero, arriving with courage at the most critical moment.
“The Minneapolis bike scene takes care of their own and I want to make sure that continues,” said Ebbin.
Knutson said she needed seven stitches on her forehead.
“I just feel grateful I am here, it scares me those kinds of people are out there,” said Knutson, who believes her attackers were under the influence of some substance.
Police have not found the people behind her attack, and it’s not the only incident that night.
Later Monday night, around 11:30pm, the Midtown Greenway Coalition says a solo rider was mugged by two men, one of whom was kneeling over pretending to tie his shoe as the victim rode up. One of the men had a black handgun. The victim’s backpack was taken and the suspects ran off.
The Midtown Greenway Coalition is asking cyclists to call with authorities with anything suspicious, and ride in groups or pairs.
“In both cases, bikers saw some suspicious behavior and did not call it in, and the next person got attacked, so we ask people call 911 if you see something suspicious,” said Soren Jensen, Executive Director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition.
Jensen says his organization also has a trail monitoring program where volunteers bike the Greenway at night. After these robberies, they say the need even more volunteers.