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After Muggings, 'U Of M' Cautions Students To Avoid Distractions

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- After three separate robberies and beatings, the University of Minnesota is cautioning students to avoid being distracted by their cell phones.

Since September 2, students at the University of Minnesota have been the target of a group of criminals.

There have been three separate robberies and four people beaten on or around the University of Minnesota campus. All of the muggings had something in common: the victims were distracted and most were texting when they were attacked.

The University sent our crime alerts letting students know about incidents.

All of the muggings happened early in the morning, after 1 a.m.

The first attack took place close to territorial hall near the Marcy Holmes neighborhood. The victim was surprised from the back and hit in the face. The suspects kicked him and demanded his money and iPhone.

The next incident happened a half hour later near the superblock in the heart of the University's campus.

Four days later, two students were assaulted and robbed in Dinkytown near 14th Avenue and 6th Streets NE.

Students walking alone or in pairs are easy targets. All were distracted, some intoxicated, others were talking and texting on their cell phones.

Dave Golden runs Gopher Chauffer, a late night safe ride for students.

"Why be out there when you really don't have to be? Especially if you are going to be isolated where you're just more vulnerable to assaults and everything else," said Golden.

"It's free ride from wherever folks are at in the areas like Dinkytown, Marcy Homles, Como, they'll go to St. Paul campus. It's door-to-door service to make sure folks get home safely," said Goldon.

Chase Lembeck gave more than 350 rides this weekend and says people are doing what they can to keep out of harm's way.

"I was driving this weekend and a lot of the people were saying that they didn't feel safe necessarily being on the streets. They wanted to be safe," said Lembeck.

"The whole idea is to get people off the street between 10 at night and 3 and 4 in the morning when nothing good is going on anyway," said Goldon.

The service is available Fridays after 10 p.m. and trucks are out until everyone who wants a ride gets one.

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