A 19-year-old student was assaulted and robbed as a gun was pointed at his head north of Dinkytown late at night by three men in what is the third recent armed holdup of University of Minnesota students in recent weeks.
Police said no arrests have been made, and they are looking into whether the crimes are related.
The latest robbery occurred Friday shortly after midnight near 14th Avenue and 7th Street SE., just west of many of the University of Minnesota athletic buildings, Minneapolis police said.
Sophomore David Tork said Sunday that after he and the men passed each other on the sidewalk, “I immediately got punched in the face and within seconds thrown up against the wall. They had the gun a couple of inches from my head. It was hard to process the [danger] until I got on the phone with 911. Then it sunk in.”
Tork, who was heading home from a study group ahead of an organic chemistry final, said the suspects “were pulling stuff out of my pockets. They said, ‘Give me all your stuff, your backpack, too, everything you got.’ ”
Grateful for coming away with his life, Tork has been spending the past several days replacing his identification, cellphone and laptop. In the backpack were two textbooks.
The trio wasted little time cashing in. “Before I even got home” after speaking with police, Tork said, his debit card had been used in St. Paul for purchases at gas stations.
A native of the Chicago suburb of Geneva, Tork said the robbery has not soured him on Minneapolis.
“I’ve loved it here,” he said, adding that he’s thinking about sticking around after graduation. “It’s a great city. I’ve had great experiences.”
The suspects were described as in their early 20s, with thin builds and scruffy facial hair. They had on dark hoodies and dark pants, and one suspect wore a letter jacket.
This is at least the third such robbery of a student on or near campus in less than three weeks.
On Nov. 25, a student was walking off-campus on the north side of the 10th Avenue Bridge near University Avenue, when four males demanded his valuables and assaulted him. The student surrendered his wallet and cellphone. Police said the victim’s injuries were not serious.
Shortly before noon on Nov. 21, a student was leaving the Carlson School of Management on the university’s West Bank campus when a man waiting in the entry asked for the time, then showed a handgun inside his jacket and demanded her valuables. She gave up her cellphone. The student was not hurt.
Using the victim’s description and images captured by security cameras, the suspect is described as black, 20 to 25 years old, about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, with curly medium-length hair. He was wearing a gray baseball cap, a black leather jacket with a white hooded sweatshirt underneath, and bluejeans. The suspect was carrying a black backpack and his weapon was a small, black semiautomatic handgun.
“As is standard, we are reviewing [Friday’s holdup] against other unsolved crimes in the area to look for possible patterns,” Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said.
Anyone with information about the two off-campus robberies can call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or send an anonymous tip to CRIMES (274637) and begin the text message with TIP674.
To offer information about the on-campus robbery, the University of Minnesota Police Department can be reached at 612-624-COPS (2677).