University of Minnesota police have released a new photo of a person of interest in Monday's attempted armed robbery of a student at Anderson Hall on the West Bank campus.
Police released the wrong suspect photo on Tuesday, and UMPD Chief Greg Hestness said that person has since been identified and cleared of any wrongdoing.
ARMED ROBBERY ATTEMPT
A University of Minnesota student was studying in a hallway when the suspect approached with a handgun. When the suspect demanded the victim's laptop, the victim screamed and the suspect fled the area.
Campus security cameras captured photos of a man running through Blegen Hall one minute after the robbery attempt. Investigators consider him a person of interest, and anyone with information is asked to call the University of Minnesota Police Department at 612-624-COPS. Refer to case number UM-13-375950.
The university sent 68,325 emergency text messages after the incident urging students and staff to shelter in place.
The incident is the latest in a series of robberies and assaults in the area over the past few weeks, but it's the first to take place on campus grounds.
Even so, University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness describes the robbery as a canary in the coal mine of crime -- and he worries some students may not be getting the message.
Since Sept. 1, there have been 17 robberies on or around the U of M campus. The average is usually 22, with many clustered in the Marcy Holmes area where a student was recently sexually assaulted.
Hestness believes most of the crimes are committed by outsiders who come to campus to prey upon students, many of whom are absorbed in their cell phones as they walk, blissfully and dangerously unaware.
"They're not city kids; they're not from here," Hestness said. "It takes them a little while to be savvy."
In response, campus security is promoting an expansion of the Gopher Chauffeur, a service that transports students to and from various locations. Hestness also met with Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau to strategize about the robberies near campus. One concern is that the increase of student housing near the U may require more city resources due to the greater population density.