Video captures Metro Transit armed robbery; lawmaker renews push to keep violent criminals off LRT
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS recently obtained a Metro Transit light rail video that captures an armed robbery. Meanwhile, a Minnesota lawmaker is renewing his push to increase LRT safety and keep violent criminals off LRT cars for various periods of time.
The Metro Transit video shows several men surround a woman last November on a Green Line car near the Fairview platform in St. Paul. Seconds later one of the men pulls out what prosecutors said was a .40-caliber handgun.
The video runs for nearly two minutes as the gunman and several other people rob the woman at gunpoint making off with $300 cash, an iPhone and her state identification and Social Security cards, according to the Ramsey County criminal complaint.
In January, three suspects pleaded guilty to armed robbery, but against the wishes of the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, they received dispositional departures in their sentences and received one year in jail with 10 years of supervised probation.
Two of the three are now out of jail after the judge ordered them released "with time served."
State Rep. Jon Koznick, R-Lakeville, told KSTP he has a bill in the Legislature that would prevent people with violent gross misdemeanor and felony convictions on the LRT from riding the transit line for extended periods of time.
"If you're convicted of a gross misdemeanor connected to mass transit, you are off the LRT for up to six months," Koznick said. "And my bill would also keep convicted felons on LRT cars and platforms from riding the LRT cars for a year."
Koznick also said his bill provides about $2-3 million to beef up law enforcement on the light rail system through the metro area.
"We are ruining the Metro Transit brand, and people have an expectation of safety," Koznick said. "This would provide more assistance to Metro Transit Police, St. Paul and Minneapolis cops and to county sheriffs so we can get more presence on the LRT sytem and keep those violent offenders off the LRT for a while."
Koznick said if his bill does not pass Sunday night, which is the last night of the legislative session, it will be a top priority when the Legislature reconvenes for a likely special session June 12.