Robbers target St. Paul college students for laptops, cell phone - KMSP-TV

Robbers target St. Paul college students for laptops, cell phones

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Hamline University is warning its students to hang on to their cell phones and laptops because robbers are targeting students at St. Paul campuses in an attempt to run off with their expensive devices.

Whether it's someone attempting to steal a laptop at the University of Minnesota, lifting musical instruments at the University of St. Thomas, college campuses seem to be the new hot spot for thieves.

Many students have what criminals are after in the palm of their hands, and usually, it's hard to separate them from their tech -- but there are moments that crooks can exploit.

Last week, a Hamline student had her backpack stolen when she got up to go to a printer in the Anderson Center on campus. She chased the suspect down Snelling Avenue and convinced him to sell her belongings back for $50.

Police don't' recommend chasing down a suspect like the student did, and university police have arrested a teen suspected in two or three of the local thefts. Investigators say most of the thieves are high-school aged.

She's not alone. University officials say there have been nearly a dozen thefts of iPhones and iPads on campus since the beginning of the school year, and there have been similar thefts at other private colleges across the Twin Cities.

That's why the university is putting up signs telling students not to leave their cell phones or laptops unattended, and that it's OK to say "no" to a stranger who asks to use their cell phone, especially if they're alone or at night.

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