Four arrested in Uptown robberies, charges expected

In the early morning of May 1, police arrested three men and one male juvenile in connection to a string of 22 aggravated robberies that have plagued Uptown since April.

Minneapolis Police Chief William McManus credited the suspects' apprehension to collaboration between 5th Precinct officers, the Department's Robbery Squad and the new STOP unit, which targets crime hotspots.

The arrests immediately followed an aggravated robbery May 1 at approximately 1:15 a.m. on the 2700 block of Pleasant Avenue. A victim was robbed at gunpoint of his wallet and ID.

A plainclothes police officer who had a description of the alleged suspect's car, spotted it a few blocks away and pursued it. Police say a gun was tossed from the suspect's car and recovered by police before the alleged robbers were stopped and arrested.

Police Capt. Rich Stanek said the gun recovered from the alleged robbers, "was in fact a pellet gun, a B-B bun."

In addition to recovering the gun, he said the police also recovered evidence including a robbery victim's stolen wallet and evidence linking to other robberies.

While officers believe they have evidence linking the suspects to a few of the reported robberies, none had been charged by the Southwest Journal's deadline.

Police officials say they are providing interpreters for the Somali suspects - ages 18, 19, 18 and 16 - and are collecting evidence and victim identifications to tie the men to more of the Uptown robberies.

"I feel comfortable that they've done some of these [22] robberies," said 5th Precinct Commander Capt. Kris Arneson, adding that police are still following leads of other suspected robbers in the area.

Arneson said within the next three to four weeks, beat cops would also be added to the Uptown area. She said the beat cops would be off-duty officers.

Stanek said the robberies have been isolated to the area between 24th and 34th streets & Hennepin and Pleasant avenues. He said the robberies occurred mostly between 9:30 p.m. and 3 a.m. and items stolen included wallets, purses and backpacks.

Arneson noted that, "a lot of these victims were intoxicated," advising the public to be careful and avoid walking alone.

Stanek said since the robberies began in April, the level of violence had increased. On April 26, on the 2800 block of Holmes Avenue South, the alleged robbers demanded the victim's wallet and then shot at him twice.