MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The St. Paul Police Department says it’s investigating a string of four robberies that happened in St. Paul on Monday morning.
In about two hours, four men ranging in age from 19 to 72 were injured, and several wallets were stolen. One day earlier another man had his car stolen with his 8-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter in the backseats.
Police say 10 boys knocked the man to the ground and took his car as he was adjusting a car seat in the van. Seven of the boys were later found and arrested on charges of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, financial transaction fraud and committing a crime to benefit a gang.
Less than 24 hours later, police officers received word of a robbery near the intersection of Arlington Avenue West and Grotto Street North just before 7 a.m. Monday.
There a 56-year-old St. Paul man was bleeding from the left side of his head. He told police that while he was out for a jog, a car pulled up beside him, and three males in black ski masks jumped out and tackled him. One of the suspects hit him in the head with a small bat, before the group took his iPhone and drove off.
Fifty nine minutes later, police were sent to the intersection of Como Boulevard East and Rose Avenue West.
A 40-year-old man said he was walking when three males approached him. One yelled, “get him,” and they all started to punch him in the head. The victim fell to the ground and the three suspects demanded money from him. They eventually went through his pockets, taking his wallet, cash and a watch, before running away.
An hour after that police learned of a third robbery, near the 9000 block of Raymond Avenue.
A 19-year-old Minneapolis man told police he was walking on the sidewalk when he was suddenly punched in the side of the head from behind. He was then thrown into a snowbank, and he saw three males standing over him. They took his iPhone, wallet and house keys, before getting into a car that police believe was stolen earlier in the day.
Finally, just before 9 a.m., police officers received reports of a robbery at the intersection of Cromwell Avenue and Bayless Place.
Officers say a 72-year-old man on scene had a raised bump on his forehead – he told them that he was attacked after leaving a meeting at a nearby church. Three males approached the man from behind, and one punched him in the chest. Then the other two suspects got on him and grabbed his phone. A suspect allegedly looked at the phone, said it had no value and threw it back at the man. Then all three suspects ran away.
The St. Paul Police Department has now released a statement in the aftermath of the crime spree:
We are taking aggressive steps to investigate the robberies that have happened and prevent future crimes. Our Gang and Gun Unit is coordinating with our Juvenile Unit, our Homicide-Robbery Unit and our patrol officers to gather and share information that can help us identify and locate the suspects.
In the meantime, our patrol officers will be very visible throughout Saint Paul and especially in areas of the city where these types of robberies have occurred.
We’re also asking anyone with any information to call us—because it could prevent another crime or someone from being seriously hurt.