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U of M alerts students about string of unusual assaults, robberies

The U of M was hit by an especially bold set of robbers over the weekend.
The U of M was hit by an especially bold set of robbers over the weekend.

Yesterday, University of Minnesota police sent out a crime alert after four violent robberies occurred on or near campus during a four-hour stretch early Sunday morning. Those robberies were similar to six other incidents that have taken place since mid-August.

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The unusual thing about the recent robberies is that they often involve a group of suspects robbing a group of victims. Typically, robbers target people walking by themselves.

WCCO details the Sunday-morning incidents:

The U of M says four incidents occurred on the intersections of Harvard Street and Washington Avenue, on Washington Avenue on a Metro Transit Bus near the Willey Hall bus stop and at 17th Street and University Avenue near the Armory. All of the robberies occurred between 1 a.m. and 4:45 a.m.

In each case, two or more victims were assaulted and robbed by a group of five or six black men. The description of the suspects is limited, but all of the men are described as between the ages of 18 and 25 years old, one of the suspects had a goatee beard and mustache, and wore a black puffy North Face vest. Other suspects wore orange or red, and black or dark blue sweatshirts.

University of Minnesota deputy police chief Charles Miner told KARE 11 the robberies "appear to be related," and characterized the recent string of incidents as "very unique."

"Historically we have not had situations where people have been robbed in groups of people," Miner said. "It's been both very large groups of suspects and very large groups of victims."

Miner told KARE that four arrests have been made in connection with the six campus robberies that took place before the weekend. But that apparently wasn't enough to prevent the Sunday-morning crime spree.

"Our officers will be out, particularly this weekend, in extra force. We'll have extra officers working, looking for this specific pattern," Miner told KARE. "They'll be teaming up with Minneapolis police and Metro Transit police."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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