MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Police are asking for the public’s help in catching the man who attacked two women in a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp.
The separate attacks happened Tuesday afternoon on the seventh floor of Ramp C, on the corner of 4th Street and 2nd Avenue North.
Police say the attacks in broad daylight are cause for heightened public concern.
Ramp customer Trista McGlynn describes the boldness of the crimes as “scary.”
“I got text messages this morning saying, ‘Oh Trista, you park in Ramp C, just be careful, this happened,'” McGlynn said.
It was around 2 p.m. Tuesday when the first female victim was approached at her vehicle on the seventh floor.
A younger man asked her for money. When she refused he grabbed her hand and pulled her between two parked cars. The woman was able to fend off the attack and was assisted when another man emerged from the ramp’s elevator.
That’s when the young attacker got scared and walked away, yelling, “Quit trying to take all my money!”
But the attacker struck again two-and-a-half-hours later. Ramp customer Tom Crowser was about to leave the ramp’s seventh floor when he received a cellphone call for help.
“That’s troubling, very troubling,” Crowser said.
His co-worker heard a car horn beep and a victim’s cries. Suddenly, she observed a woman’s arm reach upward from inside the vehicle alongside her, and watched in disbelief as the suspected rapist got out of that vehicle, pulled up his jeans and ran to the stairwell.
“The co-worker of mine was screaming,’There’s the guy,’ and he was running away down the ramp. And thank the Lord there was a younger guy up above that heard the screams,” Crowser said.
The two Good Samaritans took chase, with the younger man running onto the street and Crowser into the skyway. But unfortunately they lost the suspect behind Pizza Lucé.
Crowser was so affected by the attack that he promises to be in court when the attempted rapist is finally caught and brought to justice.
Angela Champagne-From is an assault survivor. Like the two women attacked on Tuesday, she was also attacked in a parking ramp in broad daylight.
“It puts me back in the ramp on the day it happened to me and it makes me sick to my stomach,” Champagne-From said.
On April 19, 2012, she was stabbed and almost died, but fought off her attacker and now speaks to women across the state about protecting themselves.
“When you get to the car, look in the back seat. As you are approaching the car, look under the car,” she said.
Champagne-From says it’s best to avoid a physical confrontation if at all possible. Make a lot of noise, such as yelling the word “fire” – which is more likely to get attention than screaming.
“If they get you in the vehicle and take you from crime scene one to crime scene two, your chance of survival decreases by 85 percent,” Champagne-From said.
She says another tip is to put your phone away when walking to your car. It distracts you from your surroundings.
Minneapolis Police told WCCO that while parking ramps are higher risk places for assaults, what happened Tuesday is still rare.
As added security is stepped up in all downtown parking ramps, Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder says they want the alleged attacker off the streets as quickly as possible.
“He had committed one crime right in that area, and two-hours-and-twenty-minutes later is in the exact same spot doing it again,” Elder said.
Police say there are surveillance images of the suspect, but they’re unsure about the clarity. They are withholding the images for now.
They describe the attacker as a light-skinned black male in his early to mid-20s. He is at least 6 feet tall and was last seen wearing baggy jeans and a plaid shirt. He had a slight growth of beard and has short, curly hair.
He was wearing a dull, black leather jacket in the initial attack that possibly had maroon sleeves.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Minneapolis Police Department Tips Line at 612-692-TIPS (8477).