ST. LOUIS PARk, Minn. (FOX 9) - FOX 9 journalists at a grocery store in St. Louis Park to cover a previous robbery encountered an attempted carjacking on Thursday afternoon.
Photojournalist Vanshay Murdock was working on a story with Mary McGuire at the Lunds & Byerlys along Park Center Boulevard in St. Louis Park, covering a robbery that had occurred on Monday. In that incident, a 73-year-old woman was attacked and robbed of her purse in the Lunds & Byerlys parking lot.
On Thursday, as our crews were shooting video at the store at about 3:15 p.m., they witnessed three young men attempt to violently carjack a man in a Mercedes SUV. In a video from our photographer's GoPro, a suspect appears to have entered through the backseat and is seen swinging at the victim behind the driver's wheel with an object that looked like a gun or possibly a power drill. Our photographer yells and honks his horn and the suspects eventually run away.
Police believe the Monday and Thursday incidents are connected.
A spokesperson for Lunds issued the following statement in response to the incidents:
The safety of our staff and customers is always our top priority. There were recently two crimes committed in the parking lot at our Lunds & Byerlys in St. Louis Park. We have provided surveillance video of both incidents to the St. Louis Park Police Department.
We have also immediately increased our security presence at this store to help ensure the safest working and shopping experience possible.
Police offer reward in robberies
In a news release on Thursday, hours after the Lunds & Byerlys incident, police said the same group is suspected of being involved in a third incident at Bridgewater Bank on Excelsior Boulevard.
In that incident, police responded around 8 p.m. on November 29 for the report of an attempted carjacking at the bank. Officers say it appears the suspect followed the man from the bank into the parking lot, implied he had a gun, and demanded the victim's keys as he approached his vehicle.
The man was able to run back into the building to safety and officers say the suspects fled in a black Dodge Durango.
Police say they are now offering a $5,000 reward for people with information that leads to an arrest in the case. They also released surveillance photos they say show the men involved.
Anyone who recognizes them is asked to call the St. Louis Park Police Department at 952-924-2618 or Crime Stoppers of Minnesota at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.crimestoppersmn.org.
Thwarted carjacking in Edina appears to be connected to St. Louis Park incidents
Thursday night, police in Edina said they responded to a separate attempted carjacking that was thwarted by good Samaritans.
According to officers, at about 5 p.m. on Thursday, nearly two hours after the attempted carjacking at Lunds in St. Louis Park, police were called to the Lunds and Byerlys on West 50th Street for a reported carjacking in progress.
During that incident, police say four young men attempted to take an occupied car when the good Samaritans intervened. Three people were hurt during the robbery attempt, one seriously. All four suspects were also able to flee the area.
The person who was seriously hurt is being treated at the hospital but remains in stable condition.
Anyone with information on that case is asked to call Edina police at 952-826-1600.