It was just before noon on a Sunday, a nice day for a walk, when Kenneth E. Haagensen, 73, stepped into the shade under a railroad trestle on 22nd Avenue NE. in Minneapolis.

Suddenly, he was on the ground, he recalled Wednesday, nearly knocked cold by a blow to the forehead that left a cut deep enough to see his skull.

The two thieves then went through Haagensen's pockets, and after snatching his wallet and a credit card, rang up more than $400 in purchases at a gas station, grocery store and tobacco shop before the credit card issuer could be alerted.

The June 26 attack was one of 12 recent robberies that led police to issue a crime alert for the area around Central Avenue NE. from 20th Avenue NE. to 27th Avenue NE.

Haagensen was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he stayed overnight. He still had the stitches in his forehead on Wednesday, he said. He recalled that the attack happened so quickly that he "didn't see anybody until they were walking away." One person was tall and the other was short, he said.

Police say that suspect descriptions in the 12 robberies have varied. Arrests have been made in three of the cases, including the armed robbery of a Handy Stop gas station on Lowry Avenue NE. on June 8, police records show.

The four suspects arrested to date include two 15-year-old boys, police said.

According to the reports:

• A 52-year-old woman had a purse ripped from her shoulder after being knocked to the ground and then kicked at 23rd Avenue NE. and Washington Street NE. on June 15.

• A 76-year-old man was punched by one of two suspects in the 2500 block of Madison Street NE. on June 16, but the thieves fled before they could steal his wallet.

• A 24-year-old man was robbed of cash and a cellphone on June 29 by a group of 10- to 16-year-olds at 23rd Avenue NE. and Central Avenue NE.

Police issued the crime alert last Thursday. No robberies were reported over the weekend, police said Wednesday.

Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109