Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists

Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists

This is a discussion on Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Minneapolis Crime Watch: Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists in Midtown Greenway Area MPD has issued a crime alert for bicyclists being knocked down and robbed. What ...

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Thread: Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array havegunjoe's Avatar
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    Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists

    Minneapolis Crime Watch: Assaults, Robberies on bicyclists in Midtown Greenway Area

    MPD has issued a crime alert for bicyclists being knocked down and robbed. What can you do. According to the MPD one of the things you can do is, "If you should be assaulted, try to stay calm. Give the attackers what they want. The more you resist, the more likely it is that you will be injured." Bull I say! Cooperating is no guarentee that you won't be hurt.

    This is from a man who was attacked and his experience:

    This victim was a Marine infantry man and a writer for the Trib...wonder what his stance on Armed Citizenry is ?

    There's 14 pages of comments following the story.

    In harm's way: A biker's tale of being accosted on city trail
    An avid bicyclist and former U.S. Marine recounts a harrowing robbery on a Minneapolis bike trail.

    By TROY MELHUS, Star Tribune

    Last update: December 15, 2008 - 12:33 PM
    "I'm going to shoot him."

    He jabs the gun onto the back of my head three times. I'm lying face-down in the middle of the concrete path. He's talking to his two friends, 3 feet to my left.

    "Don't ... look up," one of them says to me.

    "I'm gonna shoot him," the man with the gun repeats. He sounds anxious.

    "Please don't," I say.

    He jabs the gun into my neck and pushes up my helmet. He slides the muzzle up behind my right ear. I feel him lean in close. This is the end of my life. I'm about to be shot in the back of the head.

    I stare at the ground and wait for him to pull the trigger.

    • • •

    It's Thursday, Dec. 4, 8:29 p.m. I know this because I'm just 300 yards south of the Franklin Avenue Light Rail station, where moments before I saw the 8:28 train approach. I will call 911 at 8:38 p.m.

    Seconds before, I was pedaling at about 20 miles per hour along the Hiawatha light-rail path. I travel this route every day, passing dozens of pedestrians. It's unremarkable to see three young men walking along the path, particularly this early at night. So, of course, I was confused when, about 20 yards off, one began to walk in front of me.

    As I moved toward the shoulder to pass, he stepped into my way. When I was within 5 yards he raised a hand and leveled it at my face. A gun. Is it real?

    I spent four years in the Marine Corps Infantry. It was a 9-millimeter semiautomatic. I stepped down from the pedals and quickly sized up the situation. I was being robbed by three kids. Young adults, maybe, but not yet grown men. And they had a gun.

    Suddenly isolated. No place to run. Nothing in my pack really worth fighting for. Cooperate.

    "Get on the ground," said the one with the gun.

    "Turn this thing off," one of the others said, kicking his foot near the headlight on the top of my head. He then reached down and peeled the pack off my back. "Is this everything? What else you got?"

    "That's it."

    I expected this to be over quickly. I never thought about what could happen after they got the goods. What more could they want?

    Then came the threat.

    I waited for the shot for about 30 seconds, then slowly raised my head. They were gone.

    Nov. 20: A bicyclist on the Midtown Greenway near Cedar Avenue was knocked down around 10 p.m. by three men who then attempted to rob the biker at knifepoint.

    Nov. 21: A bicyclist on the Midtown Greenway near Minnehaha Avenue was robbed around 8 p.m. by two men wielding a box cutter.

    Nov. 24: A bicyclist on the Midtown Greenway near Nicollet Avenue was knocked down around 7 p.m. by two men who attempted to steal the bicyclist's pack.

    Nov. 25: A bicyclist was attacked while riding near Hiawatha and Cedar Avenues around 6:30 p.m. and robbed at knifepoint.

    I saw these reports on a local bikers website the day after my attack. I Googled "Greenway Bike Path Robberies." There had been as many as 10 similar incidents. Clearly a pattern. Clearly a problem. Why hadn't I heard about these?

    The day I began getting angry, Minneapolis police issued a crime alert.

    • • •

    Two police officers arrived at 8:44 p.m., six minutes after I called 911. In the time that it took for police to respond, I was passed by four bicyclists, and in each case I flagged them down and told them what happened. Three continued down the path. The fourth, a young woman, stopped and waited with me until the police arrived.

    The police quickly took my statement at the Franklin Avenue Station platform. Three times they asked if the suspects were black. Three times I said I wasn't sure of that much; they were wearing masks. All I knew was that three cowards risked up to 20 years in prison (the penalty for first-degree aggravated robbery in Minnesota) for:

    1 pair of pants.

    2 dirty shirts.

    1 pair of dirty underwear.

    2 broken watches.



    Plastic razor.

    1 ballpoint pen.

    A broken camera

    The only item of true value was a journal: my story of a cross-country trip last spring to reconnect with my father. Beyond what I can easily recall, those memories are now gone.

    • • •

    I'm angry. Not so much that I was robbed -- I'm not so naive to think I'm invulnerable to crime. I'm angry because I can no longer bike on a busy Minneapolis thoroughfare without fear or suspicion. I'm angry that my family now lives in fear for my -- and their own -- safety. Mostly, though, I'm angry because of the silence. It took nearly 10 violent assaults -- that we know of -- before police warned the public.

    Two days after the robbery, I returned to the scene in daylight. I hoped to find my notebook. It was eerie. Quiet. And somehow much more isolated than I could ever remember. I wandered into the Seward neighborhood beyond the station and felt terribly uneasy.

    I have not ridden a city trail since. But I can't say I would have done anything differently.

    I keep returning to that moment when the robbery was over, and the gun was at the back of my head. We live our whole lives thinking ahead, from our next breath out to planning and thinking in some way about tomorrow.

    For that split-second, I was not moving forward. That was the end of my life.

    I don't want to get stuck there.

    Certified Instructor for Minnesota Carry Permit
    NRA Pistol and Personal Protection Insrtuctor
    Utah Permit Certified Instructor

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array stormbringerr's Avatar
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    Republic of Texas
    maybe its time for some undercover bicyclists w/guns.

    Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
    ― Thomas Paine

  3. #3
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    Array Thumper's Avatar
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    The BG's just created a new market for CCW gear for cyclist!

    One of you enterprising smart fellas get a jump on this will ya?
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

    "A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
    judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
    superior skills."

  4. #4
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    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    "Is this all 'ya got?"
    What a perfect time to blast these dirtbags into eternity...
    I bet this guy gets himself a Glock-26 and fanny pack for riding.
    I also bet that this guy learns to ride in "yellowish-orange".

    As Ted Nugent says, "The only good offender, is a dead offender."

    Stay armed...drill the dirtbags...stay safe!
    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

    Certified Glock Armorer
    NRA Life Member

  5. #5
    Member Array ChiWeiSz's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Ticks me off - hope the BG's in DFW aren't reading this story for an idea on where to find new vics....oh wait, I forgot, they can't read
    Trying to leave as large a carbon footprint as possible.
    Shivering in the "heat"
    Innocent as doves, wise as serpents, armed like wolves.

  6. #6
    Member Array RIA45's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    I was so hoping this guy jumped off the back of his bike letting it crash into the perp with the gun. Then, proceed to judo chop the punks into unconscienceness. I'm glad the former Marine is safe, he did the right thing given the situation.

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    I'm an avid cyclist and triathlete. I ride 65-100+ miles a week depending on the time of year and what I'm training for......

    I'm always armed, carry a cell phone, and never go near the "bike trails". While riding in traffic is dangerous, the trails are far worse.....and thugs like this too often use them for robbery, rape and other mayhem.

    Even armed......I'm not sure that he could have done much in this scenario though. At 20mph he should've simply blown by them and been long gone.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."

    Theodore Roosevelt

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array PaulJ's Avatar
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    I am not riding as much as I used to. But I agree with David that I prefer to ride in traffic. If you try to go at a good speed, it is actually safer IMHO, even if you don't consider lurking BGs. While riding in the road, cars are more aware of you. Bike paths have the nasty habit of crossing roads at odd angles and you happen to appear in front of cars with little warning to them.

    However, I can see this happen on recreational bike paths in parks and such. Usually, they are next to a food path, and as posted above it is not unusual to pass pedestrians at close distance. Being knocked of the bike is disorienting enough where a gun is probably of little use. The topic of carrying while cycling has been covered before. It is all about how much warning you got.
    I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. (Thomas Jefferson)

  9. #9
    Member Array ws76133's Avatar
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    Ft. Worth TX
    I have my snubbie in a fanny pack designed for concealed carry every time I ride. It hasn't been needed so far, but I prefer not to take chances.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Rmac58's Avatar
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    YIKES, I'm glad you were uninjured. Not sure what else you could have done. Keep pedaling and take your chances?
    Accosted at gun point, were you carrying, would you have been able to counter?
    Doesn't sound like it, and the BG's would have your weapon.
    No good answer.

  11. #11
    New Member Array Brently's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    One of my favorite biking experiences was riding in downtown Minneapolis. I was alone, it was dark, very unfamiliar with the area and the weather was nice. I never felt threatened. Now I know better.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array havegunjoe's Avatar
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    I think the answer to this is to ride with your head up, eyes scanning the area around and in the path as far ahead as you can. Have your gun where you can easily and quickly access it. Dark areas especially need to be watched and perhaps passed through with the gun in your hand ready to go. I’m not sure what else to do, suggestions?

    Certified Instructor for Minnesota Carry Permit
    NRA Pistol and Personal Protection Insrtuctor
    Utah Permit Certified Instructor

  13. #13
    New Member Array turtle77's Avatar
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    This is really bad news. I live in Minneapolis and have been commuting on that section of the greenway five days a week, two times a day for the last four months and had NO CLUE that this stuff was happening until recently. (I saw it on the twin cities carry forum) Thankfully, I've had no incidents. Sorry to those that have.

    I recently took the CCW class and passed and I am submitting my paperwork to the Hennepin County sheriff on Monday. So, I'm on my way to a permit, but it's still going to take a little while (especially with the holidays ).

    So now I'm trying to figure out if I can legally carry to and from work in the interim between now and when I actuallly get my permit. It seems from the way the law is written in Minnesota that I can (as long as I don't stop anywhere in between either way), but I'm going to find out for sure just to make sure I'm not missing anything.

    And yes, I'm considering a different route until I get my permit, (and even after I get it), but riding on the greenway here is just SO MUCH BETTER in the winter (minus the thugs, of course). Minneapolis does a terrible job of clearing the roads. Trying to maneuver a bicycle through slushy/icy/snowy banks that accumulate on the side of the road (where we, bicyclists, are supposed to ride) and dealing with traffic at the same time is really difficult and dangerous... basically insane. The greenway, OTOH, can be counted on to be plowed after almost every snowfall and, of course, no traffic.

    I should also note that I don't want to drive (I don't own a car - my choice) and I don't want to ride the bus because it takes too long. Plus, I like the workout and the fact that I get to work really awake. The bottom line is that I don't want to be scared into abandoning the way I commute. I am not a sheep.

    At the same time, I'm not looking for a confrontation either. If I feel something's not quite right, especially now, I won't hesitate to just turn tail and go in the other direction. The CCW is, for me, the absolute-final-"there's-no-other-way-out-of-this-alive" measure. But it would be nice to know it's there if I did absolutely need it, especially on the greenway.

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