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Tech Robberies Have ‘U’ Students On Edge

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(credit: CBS) Kate Raddatz
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – University of Minnesota students have more than just finals to worry about this week.

An armed robbery happened in broad daylight right near campus Wednesday on 14th Avenue Southeast and Sixth Street Southeast in Dinkytown – the latest in a string of robberies at or near the university.

Police say a female student was walking to class around 9:30 a.m. when a man approached her, showed her a gun and then took her backpack. Her wallet, iPhone and iPad were all inside.

“It’s like you’re not really safe at any time of the day,” University of Minnesota freshman Indi Derezinski said.

Students regularly carry personal electronic devices across campus, making them victims as of late.

“People are at the library late studying and they usually are using their laptops to write papers and to study,” freshman Abby Johnson said.

Syed Mia, owner of Computer Mega Mall, says preventing personal electronic theft starts with what you’re carrying and what you’re not.

“If you have a nice school bag, they’ll look for that first thing,” Mia said. “Carrying a less expensive bag can help.”

Mia says carrying a work bag built specifically to fit a laptop makes you the easiest target. He advises keeping your expensive electronics at home if you can or out of sight.

“Keep your phone in your backpack and your iPod in your pocket,” Johnson said. “And your laptop … try not to make it, like, visible.”

If your smartphone is stolen, you can be prepared by arming its GPS function.

“If it’s lost, just call the cops right away and they will just get there where it is,” Mia said.

Mia said many phones still go missing because people wait too long to track the phone before it’s disabled, or they don’t turn on their location services for privacy reasons.

Still, police give the best advice – walk in groups, never alone.

“It’s dangerous,” he said. “They will do whatever necessary to grab that and run.”

Minneapolis Police are asking for anyone with information about Wednesday’s robbery to contact them.

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