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Armed robbers target CSU students

November 10, 2011

By Brian Mitchell

Three Cleveland State students were involved in two separate similarly executed armed robberies in recent weeks.

On Oct. 14 a student was walking north on East 13th St. from Euclid Ave. to Chester Ave. around 4 p.m. when he was approached by a man who asked to use his cell phone. The victim initially declined the suspect’s request but let the man use the phone upon a second request.

According to CSU police the suspect pretended to dial a number and then told the victim, “Thanks for the phone.” The student asked for the phone back and the man said he would return the phone in exchange for $5 so he could get something to eat. The victim agreed and took out his wallet.

According to CSU police the suspect said, “You can give me all that,” while lifting up his shirt to reveal a dark semi-automatic hand gun. The victim handed his wallet to the suspect. The man removed the cash and handed the wallet back to the student.

The suspect fled the scene. The victim did not require medical attention. No arrests have been made.

According to CSU police the suspect is a black male 18-to-21 years old. At the time of the armed robbery, the suspect was wearing baggy pants and a white baseball hat with a black cross on the front of it. The suspect was also wearing a rosary.

In the Oct. 12 incident, two CSU students were walking on East 22nd St. near Prospect Ave. around 10 p.m. when a man approached them and asked to use their cell phone. One of the students told the man he could not use their cell phone and the suspect proceeded to point a gun in his face. Both victims were then ordered to lie on the ground and empty their pockets.

Two additional suspects emerged and proceeded to rob the victims. The man with the gun kicked one of the victims in the ribs before all three suspects ran down East 22nd Street toward Carnegie Ave. The victims did not require medical attention.

According to campus police three CSU students have been victims of armed robberies in recent weeks. In two cases the street robberies were similarly executed and it seems that the perpetrator of the crime is either the same person or the same group.

A CSU police officer on patrol observed three males, shortly after the robbery occurred, in the area of East 30th Street and Carnegie Ave.
The officer confronted the men and arrested them. The victims were brought to the scene of the arrest and they positively identified the men who robbed them. The suspects were searched and did not have any property belonging to the victims on their person.

All three suspects have been subsequently released and cleared of any charges. No other arrests have been made.

According to CSU police the suspects are three black males. The suspect with the gun was wearing dark clothing. A second suspect was wearing a T-Shirt with horizontal stripes. At the time of arrest of the three men who were released, one man was wearing dark clothing and another man was wearing a T-Shirt with horizontal stripes.

Campus crime alerts were not issued for either armed robbery.
Schools that participate in federal student loan programs are required by the Clery Act to provide timely warnings to students when the school considers a crime to pose an ongoing threat to students and employees.

“The Clery Act defines timely warning in terms of hours,” said Executive Director of Campus Safety Bernard Bucker. “The (Oct. 14) robbery happened on a Friday night and was not reported until the following Monday (Oct. 17). A timely warning in this case would not be serving its purpose.”

The Oct. 12 robbery occurred on a Wednesday and was reported immediately.

“No alert was issued in the (Oct. 12) robbery because police thought they caught the suspects,” said CSU Dean of Students and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jim Drnek.
On Oct. 31 CSU authorities met to discuss campus safety issues.

“We’re probably going to step up safety patrols around East 22nd Street near the southern end of campus,” said Drnek.

Drnek sent an email to CSU students offering tips on how to stay safe and avoid becoming a victim of crime.

“Always be aware of the people around you. Buddy up, try not to be alone especially after dark, walk in groups. Use well-lit public walkways if walking alone. Limit the amount of time you talk and text on your cell phone. Keep car, dorm room, apartment and house doors locked. Do not loan your cell phone to people you do not know. Do not show the contents of your wallet or purse to strangers. Do not leave valuables unattended anywhere. Make clear decisions about using alcohol and drugs,” said Drnek in an email to students.

Drnek said that many times crimes can be avoided if students exercise street smarts while on and off campus.

To request a safety escort, call 216-687-2020.