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Campus Robberies at record high in 2011

By Brian Mitchell
Dec. 1 2011

More Cleveland State students have been robbed on or near campus in 2011 than in any of the past 10 years.

As of Nov. 29, there have been nine robberies reported for 2011. By comparison, between 2008 and 2010, CSU police records indicate a total of six robberies. Since 2000, CSU police have reported an average of five robberies per year. Within the past 10 years the highest yearly total for reported robberies was eight in 2005. The lowest is 2010 with one reported robbery.

According to CSU police records, seven students were robbed in the fall 2011 semester.
In the most recent incident on Nov. 23, two men robbed Café Ah-Roma after displaying a gun around 8 p.m. The suspects fled east on foot down Euclid Avenue.

No one was injured during the robbery. The incident resulted in the release of a crime alert by CSU authorities. No arrests have been made.

According to CSU police, the suspects are two African-American men. One suspect is 40 to 50 years old, around 5-foot-6 with facial hair and wearing a black jacket. The other suspect is described as being in his mid 20s about 5’8’’ and wearing a dark coat and knit cap.

In the Nov. 21 incident, a student was walking near the Student Center on Euclid Avenue around 6:30 p.m. when a man approached her from behind and grabbed a computer device out of her hand. The suspect proceeded to run south away from campus. The victim was not hurt.
CSU authorities issued a crime alert in response to the incident. No arrests have been made.

According to CSU Police, the suspect is a young African American male, around 5-5 with a thin build. The suspect was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and jeans with the hood tied tightly around his face.

In the Nov. 1 incident, a student reported he was inside a bar with a friend around midnight and left his cell phone sitting on the bar while he stepped outside. When he returned, his cell phone was gone. The bartender said a man had been lingering by the victim’s cell phone before exiting the bar. The two students ran out of the door and quickly located the man. One of the students called the stolen cell phone and it rang in the suspect’s hand. The man declined the victim’s request to return the phone. The suspect then pulled out a metal pipe with a chain attached to it and a pie cutter. A foot chase ensued.

A CSU police officer observed two students chasing a man on foot near East 18th Street and Prospect Avenue.
One of the students flagged down the officer and said the man had stolen a cell phone while the other student continued the chase.
When the officer caught up to the chase she observed the suspect was swinging a metal pole with a chain attached to it at the victim. The officer reported that in the suspect’s free hand was a cell phone.

The officer approached the scene and ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. The suspect turned toward the officer and proceeded to walk toward her. The officer ordered the man to drop the weapon a second time and the suspect complied. The man was arrested. The victims were not physically injured during the incident.
According to CSU police, the suspect is 45- year-old Lawrence Cooper-Powell of Elyria, Ohio.

According to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Powell has been charged with one count of aggravated robbery, three counts of robbery, two counts of felonious assault, one count of aggravated theft and two counts of aggravated menacing.
Powell’s bail has been set at $100,000. He has not been released on bail and is awaiting trial.

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.

On Oct. 12, two CSU students were walking on East 22nd Street near Prospect Avenue 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 Avenue. The victims did not require medical attention.

On Sept. 14, a CSU student was approaching her car at East 21st Street and Chester Avenue around 10 p.m. when a man riding a bicycle grabbed her purse. The suspect punched the student in the face during the altercation. The assailant fled after the victim yelled for assistance. The student retained possession of her purse. The student did not seek immediate medical attention. The incident prompted CSU authorities to issue the first crime alert in three years.

On Sept. 2, a CSU student was attacked with a knife and held at gun point during a robbery near the Euclid Commons Dorms on Sept. 2. According to CSU police the student was walking near the dorm around 1 a.m. when a man with a knife said, “Give me all you have.” The victim reported a second man exited a nearby van with what appeared to be a gun. The victim was slashed below the knee cap while trying to escape from the robbers. EMS treated the student at the scene. No stitches were required.