MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Greg Dierling catches the bus on Minnetonka Boulevard in St. Louis Park almost every day.

“I’m out here anywhere from 8:30 to 12:30 in the afternoon, five days a week,” he said.

Surrounded by peaceful neighborhoods, the Boulevard is anything but quiet. That’s why Dierling is shocked to learn of two armed robberies, this week, just blocks away.

“I’m surprised,” he said. “I see lots of traffic out here every morning, so I’m surprised that it would happen here.”

According to police, the suspect approached people who were alone, showed a handgun and demanded money, cell phones and other valuables. The suspect is described as African American, about 5-foot-5 with a medium build. Witnesses say he was wearing a mask and a dark hooded sweatshirt or possibly a puffy-style jacket.

Police say if you find yourself being robbed, armed or not, you should cooperate. Also, call 911 as soon as you can. Every second matters. And, don’t touch anything that may help police solve the crime.

In the St. Louis Park cases, the suspect allegedly struck early, between 6 and 7 a.m. A $500 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

Dierling said he plans to be on the lookout.

“It’s a little more disconcerting to have to, ya know, watch for something else out here besides the bus,” he said.

Just next door in Minneapolis robberies are up more than 20 percent over last year and 43 percent over 2011. Though a police spokesperson says the numbers are still historically low.

Minneapolis police will be offering a personal safety workshop for the public on Feb. 28. For more information on the class, click this link.