MPD chief: String of robberies ‘outrageous,’ Minneapolis police ‘doing everything possible to stop this’

MPD chief: String of robberies ‘outrageous,’ Minneapolis police ‘doing everything possible to stop this’

MPD chief: String of robberies ‘outrageous,’ Minneapolis police ‘doing everything possible to stop this’

After thieves targeted more than a dozen spots in Minneapolis over the weekend, the city’s police chief says officers are doing all they can to stop those responsible and hold them accountable.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara talked about the recent crime spree after a vehicle involved in a reported robbery crashed into a bus stop on Monday afternoon.

The chief said two vehicles — a Kia sedan and a Kia SUV — were reportedly involved in an armed robbery on Garfield Avenue at around 12:30 p.m. Monday. While both fled, the SUV was spotted by officers a short time later and a pursuit started. After around six minutes, the SUV crashed into a bus stop near North Penn and Plymouth avenues.

O’Hara said two people were at the bus stop at the time but avoided injury. Four people in the SUV fled but three were arrested — all are believed to be juveniles. The sedan got away.

A gun was also recovered from the SUV.

It comes after Minneapolis police said 14 robberies were reported from 10:53 a.m. Saturday until 12:35 a.m. Sunday, with most of them happening after sundown.

Police believe many of the robberies are connected, as a gray SUV was reported at at least eight of them. Guns were also reported in most cases, as the robbers targeted purses, wallets and phones, assaulting some of the victims in the process.

Monday afternoon, O’Hara said there were 46 violent crimes reported in the city over the weekend, and 70% of those were robberies. Additionally, at least 14 were committed by juveniles, and no arrests were reported.

While O’Hara said it was too early to say the three juveniles arrested Monday were involved in other robberies over the weekend, he said officers suspect they may have been.

“These robberies that have been happening are absolutely outrageous,” O’Hara said.

“We want the community to know the MPD is responding. We may be short-staffed but we are doing everything possible to stop this and bring these offenders to justice,” he added, noting that while pursuits are dangerous, given the circumstances, he felt it was important to stop the suspected armed robbers.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

O’Hara also reminded the public that their first priority — in the event they fall victim to a crime — should always be safety, as property can be replaced. However, he urged people to be good witnesses and pay close attention to suspects.

As of Monday afternoon, Minneapolis’s public crime dashboard showed 194 robberies reported in the city so far this year, up 40% from this time last year but down from 2021 and 2022.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara talks after a pursuit ends in a crash near North Penn and Plymouth Avenues on Feb. 12, 2024. (KSTP-TV)