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Student Robbed on Buswell Street

Victim pulled into car, held at knifepoint


Scott Pare, deputy director of public safety for Boston University. Photo by Vernon Doucette

A Boston University student was pulled into a car and robbed at knifepoint in South Campus late Tuesday night. Boston University Police say the victim, who was unharmed, told them that he was walking on Buswell Street shortly before 11 p.m. when a strange car stopped nearby and someone in the car yelled a profanity. The 18-year-old student said a passenger leaped from the car, grabbed him, and threw him into the backseat. He told police his attacker held a knife with a four-inch blade to his chest and demanded that he empty his pockets and his backpack. The student was released at St. Mary’s and Beacon Streets, police say, and the thieves then fled west on Beacon Street with the victim’s wallet, cell phone, and backpack, which contained a T1 calculator.

Scott Pare, deputy director of public safety for Boston University, describes the car as a tan or beige four-door sedan, possibly a 1994 Toyota Corolla. The suspect who robbed the student is described as a heavyset white male about six feet tall, with a pronounced Boston accent. A passenger in the front seat is believed to be a short, thin white male with a crew cut, and the driver was a white woman. All of the suspects appeared to be about 19 or 20 years old. Pare says the victim declined medical attention and counseling.

“Incidents like this are reminders for all of us to take precautions,” says Pare. “Students should do everything they can to ensure that they are not easy targets.”

He advises all students to avoid walking alone late at night. “If you must walk alone,” he says, “try to stay in well-lighted and well-trafficked areas.”

Pare adds, “Be vigilant. And if you do become a victim of a crime, try to take note of the suspect’s hair and eye color and type of vehicle. Write things down and call the police immediately.”

Call the BUPD at 617-353-2110 if you have any information relating to this incident. For emergencies, dial 617-353-2121.

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.


10 Comments on Student Robbed on Buswell Street

  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 9:24 am

    To me this is yet another reminder that police cannot be everywhere and that students are potential victims because they are not permitted under current law to carry self-defense sprays etc. while on campus. While caution is important the location of this crime being Buswell Street, reveals that in addition to staying in well lit reasonably safe areas that a student should also be able use whatever means necessary to defend themselves against such an attack. In light of the recent killings on college campuses across the nation all universities should be working together to overturn the foolish laws that prohibit students from defending themselves. How many more people will have to be victims before things change??? In addition to losing his valuables this student has also lost the false sense of security that the campus provides and will quickly learn that under current law he either needs to remain a potential victim or commit an act of civil disobedience in order to defend himself. While he was not hurt you certainly must realize that this situation could have been much worse and that current law would have facilitated rather than impeding an even worse outcome. MOst LEO I know agree that empower the citizens is effective and only those with political motivation express otherwise. It is up to LEOs like yourself to work with the students to establish safety plans that really work not to perpetuate the useless feel good plans promoted by those that the support the Brady bill and other ineffective policies.

  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 10:21 am

    take note of hair and eye color? Yes, I will be sure to do so when I am being held at knife point. Shall I take the license plate number as well?

  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 11:58 am

    Do your job

    We shouldn’t have to be afraid to walk alone at night in a heavily populated street(that is well lit). South campus is a part of BU’s campus and the BUPD should try sending a car over there every once in a while. I haven’t seen a BUPD car by south campus in months.

    If people have to be afraid of their stuff being stolen out of their rooms over break, being attacked in broad daylight, having men break into their rooms while they’re sleeping, and being mugged while walking down the street, people that apply to this school need to know what’s been going on and have the opportunity not to attend this school.

  • altersun on 02.21.2008 at 12:09 pm

    I wish there were more details about how the event went down. Listing the details of the event could give others an idea of what to watch out for should they ever be in a situation of similar vulnerability. For example, was it the only car on the street, and did it pointedly pull up next to the student when there was no other reason for it to stop at that part of the street? If the student could have understood then and there that such was suspicious behaviour, maybe he could have taken precautions, if only by taking off running.

  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 1:26 pm

    Incorrect Information

    The student lived on campus, not off campus. I feel this is a crucial piece of information to the story, for the whole student body. Please check your facts before you print.

  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 3:46 pm

    South Campus should be safe

    The south campus area is supposed to be a safer area compared to other parts of the BU campus. It shocked me that such incident happens, which is just right behind where I live. In fact, 11pm isn’t too late walking home. It’s impossible to avoid walking alone as many students study in the library or have meetings till late night. BU should increase the level of safety around south campus by sending more BUPD cars to check around the area more often!

  • Clark Kent on 02.21.2008 at 5:35 pm

    mugged at knife point

    I must agree with the comments submitted by readers. I walk home from work at 3 or 4 in the morning sometimes and there is no activity in South Campus in terms of a police car, students walking…it is quite desolate in fact. If someone did that to me, I’d probably be screwed because no one would be around to see or even hear it.

    In my four years at BU, I’ve learned that even though the university is located in a fairly safe neighborhood in Boston, the activity of BUPD is pretty lacking. Considering the number of robberies in South campus in Fall 2007, I’m surprised there hasn’t been an increase in security measures in South Campus.

    I feel that as a South Campus resident on Buswell Street, South campus has been slowly eroding itself…from having its mail room getting removed, run down buildings/rooms, and lack of community. If anything needs to change, it’s Boston University’s attention and care towards South.


  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 6:22 pm

    in light of recent events both local and national, some are beginning to feel that an a(t best) two-minute response time is already too long to wait.


  • Anonymous on 02.21.2008 at 8:57 pm

    Can’t wait for the Freep article to see some real reporting instead of this PR spin.

  • MJL on 02.23.2008 at 2:01 pm

    I’ll have to second http://www.concealedcampus.org

    I’m not saying anyone needed to be shot, but gun trumps knife any day of the week.

    Ever notice how most shootings happen in “gun free zones”?

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