Minneapolis robbery spree: Carjacking victim recounts frightening moments

The Minneapolis Police Department launched a new strategy to combat robberies Sunday morning, after another robbery spree in the city.

Sunday morning's spree was similar to another rash of crime earlier this month, with young suspects in vehicles targeting people walking on city streets.

Officers say the new initiative was put into effect Sunday morning around 11 a.m. after four reported robberies over the course of just 18 minutes.

Those robberies were reported in the following areas:

  • 800 block of West Lake Street
  • 34th and Lyndale
  • 3300 block of Blaisdell
  • 28th and Dupont

Given the circumstances of these robberies, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara says a police supervisor put in effect the department's new robbery response protocol. What that meant was that officers stopped responding to non-emergency 911 calls and instead "flooded resources" in the areas where robberies had occurred.

O'Hara says there weren't any other robbery reports in that area after the response. But, there were two more robbery reports across the city in Northeast Minneapolis over the next hour. First, a carjacking at gunpoint at Lowry Avenue and Marshall Street. Then, another gunpoint robbery in the area of Central Avenue and 23rd Avenue NE.

The robberies remain under investigation, but police suspect all six cases are linked.

"We believe it's two groups of juveniles that were acting in tandem, together that committed these crimes," Chief O'Hara said Sunday. "This is part of the larger robbery pattern that we've been working on. Our robbery investigators have literally been working around the clock to identify all of the juveniles that we believe are involved."

Victim recounts terrifying robbery

Sadie Hansen's Mazda was carjacked during Sunday's spree. Speaking with FOX 9 on Sunday, she recounted the terror of being carjacked.

"You never really know how you're going to act in a crisis situation," she said. "And I mean, the gun when I saw that just all bets were off."

Hansen had just picked up breakfast at a Northeast restaurant and was sitting in her car when a group of teens, some masked, blocked her in and one pointed a gun at her. They screamed, demanding she get out of the car and hand over her belongings.

"So I just gave them everything and tried to back away and it all happened within the span of like 30 seconds. It was so quick. I couldn't even really react," Hansen recalled.

"Just everything is kind of taken from you in that moment," she reflected. "Not storing passwords on your phone. Just a lot of things that ran through my head after it happened and trying to kind of problem solve from there."

Hansen said she doesn't think she could have done anything differently. Chief O'Hara echoed her sentiment, saying property can be replaced but your life cannot. He says if you are victimized in a robbery, try to get a license plate number from the suspects and any distinguishing features.

O'Hara adds, if you notice anything strange, like teens circling a neighborhood in stolen cars, please call 911. 

After the spree two weekends ago, police arrested four teens who have since been charged. Two of the teens were inside a Kia that was believed to be involved in several robberies.

In that spree, police received 14 robbery reports throughout the day on Saturday, Feb. 10.