Minneapolis police warn of weekend robbery spree, over a dozen violent incidents

There were 46 violent crimes over the weekend, and 70 percent of them were robberies.

The aftermath of a Minneapolis police pursuit of robbery suspects on Monday. (@CTolck/Twitter)

The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) issued a warning on social media on Sunday evening about a series of robberies that took place on Saturday and said they think several of the 14 incidents that day were connected to the same suspects.

At least three people were arrested Monday afternoon following a police pursuit in north Minneapolis, during which a pursuing officer stated the suspects were believed to be armed and had been involved in multiple robberies, according to police scanner audio.

Crime Watch Minneapolis had been reporting what appeared to be a series of robbery and carjacking sprees starting as far back as Wednesday last week and into Friday. The robberies and carjackings continued into Saturday, Sunday and Monday, eventually totaling well over three dozen incidents informally tracked by Crime Watch.

One of the armed carjackings that occurred before 11 a.m. Saturday in the Uptown Minneapolis area of West Lake Street and Humboldt Avenue South was a gray Honda HR-V that was referenced numerous times in subsequent robberies that day and at least one other on Sunday, according to scanner audio. The suspects involved in the original carjacking were described as three Somali males around 20 years old, and two of them reportedly had handguns.

The social media post by MPD on Sunday said that most of the robberies on Saturday occurred between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Sunday. They explained that eight of the 14 robberies involved suspects who arrived in a gray SUV that had been carjacked Saturday morning. Police said that all the robberies had similar circumstances in which a group of suspects would exit a vehicle and rob victims who were on foot. Victims were robbed of their purses, wallets and phones, and some were assaulted, MPD said.

Police said the victim descriptions of the suspects included three to six males and females consisting of juveniles or young adults. In most cases, the suspects were wearing masks and dark clothing, MPD said.

In some of the robberies posted by Crime Watch, there were up to 10 suspects, according to victim reports to 911 dispatch.

Many of the robberies and carjackings tracked by Crime Watch over several days, including Saturday, occurred across south Minneapolis. However, at least three on Saturday occurred in Northeast Minneapolis, including one after 10 p.m. where four women were robbed at gunpoint of their purses outside Jax Café on 19th and University Avenue Northeast. Several minutes later, two more people were robbed at gunpoint a few blocks away at 19th and 4th Street Northeast. Earlier in the day Saturday, there was a report of a carjacking at gunpoint outside Edison High School near 22nd and Monroe Street NE.

On Friday afternoon, a suspect was shot and killed in north Minneapolis in what police have described so far as a possible carjacking or robbery attempt by two suspects who approached either side of a Mercedes SUV in an alley. The investigation is ongoing, but MPD stated that the suspect may have been shot and killed by the second suspect in a cross of gunfire.

The MPD Crime Dashboard lists 25 carjackings in the city over the last 28 days, compared to 23 over the same 28-day period a year ago. The dashboard lists 146 robberies in the last 28 days, compared to just 81 over the same period last year, which is an increase of over 80 percent for the same period year-over-year.

From last Wednesday through Sunday, the dashboard listed 49 robberies with 26 of them occurring in the Fifth Precinct area, which is the southwest quadrant of Minneapolis including the lakes area and Uptown. Nine of the 49 robberies over the five-day period were listed for the Third Precinct area, which is the portion of south Minneapolis east of 35W; four in Northeast; seven in north; two in downtown; and one from an unknown location.

MPD said in their social media post that they had resources dedicated to the carjacking and robbery incidents Sunday night and into the near future. They said that all precincts have been advised of the robbery trend and will be alert. In addition, information about the robbery spree has been shared with local law enforcement partners, MPD said.

MPD is asking people who become victims of robbery to focus on as many details as they can about the perpetrators including: license plate numbers, vehicle description, height, weight, sex, race, hair color, and hairstyle of individual suspects, clothing descriptions of suspects, and the number of suspects with their direction of travel.

They also reminded people to call 911 as soon as possible and to cancel their credit and debit cards as soon as they can after being robbed.

Monday arrests

MPD provided an update Monday evening on the pursuit and arrests earlier in the day, stating that they still weren’t certain that the three arrested parties were part of the same crew involved in the weekend robberies.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara stated that one suspect got away on foot at the time, as did another vehicle containing four suspects that was with the one that crashed. Both vehicles were stolen, and one handgun was recovered at the scene.

The chief indicated that the arrested parties were juveniles, and reiterated that most, if not all, of the armed robberies over the weekend had been committed by juveniles. He said that the arrests occurred because officers responded immediately to more robberies that had occurred Monday midday.

O’Hara described the “terrifying” ordeal that some of the robbery victims experienced. One victim was injured when a gun was stuck in their mouth. Another victim heard the click of a gun trigger being pulled. There were 46 violent crimes over the weekend, and 70 percent of them were robberies, he said.

O’Hara said that he was thankful for Monday’s arrests. However, he said, “we need the rest of the system to do their part to ensure that there is accountability,” which was likely a reference to Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty’s soft stance on prosecuting juvenile crime.

Anyone with information about recent robberies or any crime in Minneapolis is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips may be submitted electronically at www.CrimeStoppersMN.org. All Tips are anonymous and persons providing information leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for a financial reward.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.

 

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.