Refugee with 'mental health problems' assaulted, robbed on Green Line train

Jonathan was riding to a friend's house to stay the night when he was assaulted and robbed.

Jonathan was riding to a friend's house to stay the night when he was assaulted and robbed. Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

 Somehow having a good Monday morning?

Skip this story in the Pioneer Press. It's a mood ruiner.

The upsetting tale details the recent experience of "Jonathan" (who only wanted his first name used), a man who sought refuge in the United States from a war in his native country. He came to Minnesota for college at the U of M, but dropped out after "mental health problems" disrupted his studies.

Now 57, the man doesn't have a full-time home, the PiPress reports, and was using the Green Line light rail train to get to a friend's house just after midnight on the morning of May 5. While riding, he was using his tablet device, a sort of full-time support system: Jonathan describes the tablet as his "lifesaver," which he uses for music, to "read inspiring articles."

The tablet was in his hands as two teenagers got on the train at the Lexington Parkway stop. One younger teen swiped at the tablet, and, when Jonathan held tightly to it, hit him in the head; the other teen freed it from his hands, and they ran off the train. 

Jonathan gave chase, but only managed to fall and injure his foot, at which point he stopped a police car and sought help.

Aside from its calming distraction, Jonathan used his tablet to document research projects he was working on, the results of which he doesn't have duplicated anywhere else. 

He tells the Pioneer Press he used the device when he felt "unstable with my mental health," adding that he's "here alone." (His family lives outside the U.S.) The two suspects he describes were both black, short and slight of build -- 5-foot-7 or shorter, 135 pounds or lighter -- and between the ages of 15 and 19, by his estimation.

The tablet is a Microsoft Surface, and Jonathan knows the serial number, to confirm which one is his. 

Information on the thieves is welcome by Metro Transit police, who can be reached at 612-349-7200. Or, on the off chance they subscribe to the Pioneer Press (unlikely) or read City Pages (slightly more likely), they can realize they stole the wrong thing from the wrong guy, and turn the tablet back in themselves.