Minneapolis police arrest 2 juveniles, robbery spree continues targeting mainly Spanish-speaking workers
Minneapolis police on Monday said a string of robberies and thefts mainly targeting Spanish-speaking construction workers continues following the arrest of two juveniles found in a car connected to one of more than a dozen cases earlier this month.
“We recovered victim IDs and two handguns in this vehicle,” said 3rd Precinct Inspector Jose Gómez.
Nonetheless, “the case is still ongoing,” he added, and these incidents continue to hit construction sites in Minneapolis’s 3rd and 5th Police Precincts.
Construction worker Miguel Sevilla says he was stolen from while he was working on a roof a few weeks back, just blocks from one of the incidents reported to police.
“They ended up taking up some money, my backpack, my work notebook. You know, they’re just real fast,” Sevilla shared. “I’m sure they hit plenty of people in one day.”
“We’re just here trying… to work, feed our families, you know, feed ourselves and the fact that people are trying to, like you said, target us, that sucks,” he continued.
The trend first reported by Minneapolis Police on Saturday, “unfortunately, [is] not new,” said Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, Executive Director of Unidos Minnesota.
Gonzalez Avalos said that Latino workers, especially those who speak little to no English, are targeted based on a couple of assumptions — true or not.
“One is that there’s a preconceived notion that new Americans are not reporting these crimes and nobody will prosecute this crimes,” she said.
The other assumption, according to Gonzalez Avalos, is that they are less likely to have a local bank and more likely to carry cash.
“I mean, the workers and then specifically, also, the construction sites are what’s being targeted,” Gómez added.
He urged possible victims to keep coming forward, adding no one should fear questions about their immigration status.
“I can speak personally to it because my parents were immigrants,” he said, recalling “run[ning] to the basement” when the mail person came to the door “because they had a uniform on, and we thought that we would get deported because of that.”
“Police, here in Minneapolis, especially, we do not care about that,” he continued. “We’re here to help you.”
Gómez added a reminder to lock car doors and don’t leave anything, even an ID card or passport, inside, even when working a job site where the car is parked in sight.
Gonzalez Avalos said Unidos Minnesota can also help with preventative measures like opening a bank account and reporting a crime to police.