Armed robbery arrest made near U of M, victims still wary - KMSP-TV

Armed robbery arrest made near U of M, victims still wary

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An armed robbery and arrest near the University of Minnesota campus brings some relief amid mounting crime in the area, but some victims say the problem isn't going away.

It has been two days since Haley Nelson had a gun pulled on her near campus and even though she's not a student, she spends a lot of time on campus. However, she's not sure she'll continue to do so.

"I was just thinking. This can't be real. This isn't real life," Nelson said.

Nelson was waiting with a friend outside his apartment in the Marcy Holmes neighborhood around 3 a.m. Sunday when a man walked up and asked them for a cigarette. When they told him they didn't have one, he pulled out a gun and told her friend to hand over everything he had before he hopped into a waiting SUV and took off.

Campus police arrested all four people inside the SUV and found a semi-automatic, but investigators don't believe they're connected to other robberies near the U.

Police said over the past couple of weeks, they've arrested three other groups committing similar crimes in the same area but none appear to be connected to one another.

"Basically, what's happening over there, is we have these groups taking advantage of students. Out alone at night out late at night or drinking," Jesse Garcia with the Minneapolis police robbery unit said.

Investigators said the robbers are after cash and cell phones which they sell to corner stores or pawnshops, so police are reminding students to walk in groups and make sure they have an app to find their phone so they can turn it into an unusable brick if it gets stolen.

"We're doing the best we can, our officers are doing the best they can, the University of Minnesota is doing the best they can. What we need is the cooperation of the students. Being out late at night, being intoxicated, traveling around, unaware of what's going on around you."

"It was a learning experience. Really, don't ever trust anyone that walks toward you late at night," Nelson said.

Minneapolis police say the four men in this case were released without being charged so they can continue their investigation. In the meantime, Nelson says she plans on taking a women's self-defense class so she'll know what to do if this ever happens again.

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