MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Officials at the University of Minnesota say that two robberies happened late Monday night near the Twin Cities campus.

According to an alert send out by school officials, the robberies occurred in Dinkytown near the intersection of 5th Street and 12th Avenue Southeast. The first happened at about 11:14 p.m. when a suspect robbed and pistol-whipped the victim. The victim reported that the robber fled the area in a silver Lincoln.

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The second robbery happened about 10 minutes later. Two males, one wearing a black ski mask and another with a red bandana over his head, robbed two people at gunpoint, taking their wallets and keys. The victims did not see how they fled the area.

Christina Long was parked across the street of when that second robbery took place.

“I was sitting in my car and heard one of them scream,” said Long. “It was scary because I was afraid that if I moved too much they would see me. My car was off, so they didn’t know I was in the car.”

Long saw a man with a handgun. She watched the victims drop their things to the ground. She eventually called 911 and filed a report. Those living nearby, including student Caroline Geiger, say the robberies are not a surprise.

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“Ever since this summer, I think things really changed. I don’t feel safe walking around at night,” Geiger said.

U alum Nathan Bixby says he recommends perspective students to consider another school.

“Whenever I see new people touring, honestly I would say go to Madison instead of the U of M at this point. It’s really bad, that’s sacrilegious. I don’t know if Madison is that much safer, but I hope they figure this out,” Bixby said.

The Minneapolis Police Department is investigating the robberies. Last month, five people were shot in Dinkytown. Three of the victims were students, and none were critically injured.

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After last month’s shooting, the U of M and the City of Minneapolis have already made changes to increase safety. That includes increasing police presence and security cameras. Long-term plans include installing additional blue light emergency response kiosks and additional streetlighting.

Pafoua Yang