Two men riding in the back seat of a taxi early Friday pulled a gun on the driver, robbed him and then fled on foot into a south Minneapolis alley. The suspects, who got away with an undetermined amount of cash, remained at large as of midmorning, Minneapolis police said.
The 5:30 a.m. robbery caught on dashcam video shows one of the suspects pointing a handgun inches from the head of the 56-year-old cabdriver, who was emotionally shaken but otherwise unharmed, said Noah Rouen, a spokesman for Blue and White Taxi.
Police spokesman Corey Schmidt said investigators were reviewing images and collecting statements in hopes of identifying the suspects who carried out the crime in the vicinity of 35th Street and Aldrich Avenue S.
Over the past year, Blue and White has installed cameras in nearly all of its 300 cabs “for this very reason,” Rouen said. He hopes the dramatic images shared with the media and posted online will help police catch the crooks.
“This was a serious situation,” Rouen said. “This was a brazen crime and you get away with such little money. We are hoping we will get some calls to police.”
Minneapolis Police did not have the number of cabdriver robberies in the past year immediately available, but Schmidt said he could not think of one in the past few months. Rouen said robberies such as Friday’s “don’t happen often,” but the company does extensive training to prepare its drivers, an overwhelming majority of whom are immigrants, for these kinds of incidents.
“Our driver followed protocol and was not hurt,” Rouen said. “You can replace money, but you cannot replace a life.”
Drivers on Friday, Rouen said, were a bit “skittish” and “more fearful,” but that they will carry on. “This is their business.”
Rouen said his drivers also have reported an increase in harassment over the past few months. But the robbery, he said. “raises things to a whole new level.”
Anybody with information can call Minneapolis Police at 612-692-TIPS (8477).