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Police Investigating More Attacks, Robberies Near U Of M

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Authorities said Monday they’re investigating at least three more robberies involving University of Minnesota students in the overnight hours of last Thursday night and Friday morning.

Police said U of M students were victims in three separate incidents. Authorities said it appears criminals are coming to campus from outside Minneapolis and targeting university students.

U of M student Meghan Budig is one of 80,000 students, faculty and employees who got a crime alert from the university, regarding the latest incidents. She was walking just a block from where one of the incidents occurred.

“I am from a smaller town back home so I am not used to this,” she said. “It’s kind of scary.”

Police said an arrest was made in the last of three incidents that happened that night. At about 1:20 a.m. Friday, a group of men assaulted several victims, many who were U of M students, near the area of 14th Avenue SE and 6th Street SE. The suspects took items included an iPhone and a purse before assaulting students and bystanders who attempted to intervene. One female victim had to be treated for a possible broken nose. Authorities said three men were arrested and one or two more could still be at large.

Authorities said the first incident happened just before midnight near the area of University and 27th avenues. Two people, one a U of M student, were approached by a man who asked to borrow a cell phone. When one of the victims took out their phone, the man pointed a handgun at them and demanded items. The suspect stole two cell phones and a wallet, but neither victim was injured.

Police said the second incident happened at about 12:30 a.m. near the area of 18th and University Avenues. Three U of M students were in the basement of a home when two suspects wearing masks entered the basement through a window. One suspect had a hammer and the other had a knife. They threatened the students before taking an iPhone and purse. The victims were not injured.

A 20-year-old student, who wished to remain anonymous, said he saw two suspects as they were leaving his shared home.

“I approached them to ask what they were doing and that is when I found out they had just robbed my other two friends,” he said.

He said the two men left quickly — and his friends plan to be more careful.

“It was a little shock at the time but it’s going to be a lot better now,” he said.

University of Minnesota Police are working in conjunction with the Minneapolis Police Department to find the suspects in these robberies.

They said they’re stepping up patrols in the area and have extra surveillance cameras in place.

The U of M Police Chief Greg Hessness said anyone affiliated with the U of M should know there is always an uptick in the fall of robberies near campus — and everyone should be especially vigilant this time of year.

He said fall is a time of transition with people moving and new students — criminals know that and a lot of potential victims have their guard down.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call (612) 692-8477.

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