The man who is suspected of fatally stabbing a woman in a Minneapolis parking ramp during a robbery last month was in the midst of a violent crime spree that included robbing a couple outside a University of Minnesota hall and forcing them to strip, according to charges.
Benjamin Love, 44, of Minneapolis, was charged Monday in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery after he allegedly stole a man and woman’s valuables, then made them take off all their clothes at knife point before fleeing on foot about 4:45 a.m. on July 3.
Love was charged last week with stabbing in the heart 31-year-old Mai Yer Cha, of St. Paul, who tried to protect another woman in her group from being mugged in a parking ramp near Target Center on July 15. The charges include second-degree murder and numerous robbery counts.
He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail and ahead of an Aug. 8 court appearance.
Prosecutors also allege that Love has carried out at least two other violent robberies in Minneapolis.
One was on July 19, also on the U campus, four days after the fatal stabbing and the day before he was arrested. A man who left his job at a university lab about 4 a.m. was at a bus stop near Eddy Hall and was approached by Love and another man, the complaint said. Love allegedly put a knife to the victim’s throat, demanded money and took his wedding ring, cellphone, cash and car keys.
The victim broke free, fled onto a bus and told the driver what happened, according to the complaint. Surveillance video led investigators to identify Love as the robber.
A police search of Love’s home on the day of his arrest turned up items he had stolen from at least two of his victims, according to court records.
The other robbery was in August 2016 in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in the 1500 block of S. 6th Street.
A woman leaving a light-rail station told police she “was jumped” by two men. She said she was pushed against a fence and had a knife put to her throat. They took her cellphone and various cards and other items from her purse.
The woman said she was pushed to the ground, slapped in the mouth and groped under her bra, the complaint continued.
Love was captured soon afterward, jailed and freed upon posting bond. A warrant was issued for his arrest in November when he failed to show up for a court date.
Also on Love’s criminal record are misdemeanor domestic assault charges stemming from a July 2016 altercation with a pregnant woman inside a Minneapolis storage facility, where he allegedly punched her in the face and brandished a knife. That court case remains pending.
According to Monday’s criminal complaint filed in the campus robbery:
The couple, both 23 years old at the time, told police they were waiting near Blegen Hall for an Uber when Love brandished a knife and demanded their valuables. The man, from Brooklyn Park and a former U student, handed over $50, a watch and his wallet with credit cards. The woman, from Fridley, gave Love her cellphone and watch.
After they stripped at his command, Love ran toward downtown.
A woman driving to work saw the naked couple near the hall and drove them to Coffman Memorial Union, where she gave them clothing and her phone so they could call police.