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$10,000 Reward for Information about Robbers

Video reveals suspects; town hall meeting tonight at GSU

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Boston University is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of one or more of the perpetrators involved in a string of armed robberies of BU students on and near the Charles River Campus. In the most recent of four such incidents since September 23, a female student was approached in the driveway of 808 Commonwealth Ave. on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. The woman told police that two assailants, who brandished a handgun, fled when they learned that she had nothing of value in her bag. There have been no injuries in any of the assaults.

Peter Fiedler, vice president for administrative services, says the reward is being offered by the University to encourage members of the community to support the efforts that are being made by the Brookline, Boston University, and Boston Police Departments.

“Based on police reports, there has been a pattern here,” says Fiedler (COM’77). “However, last night’s robbery took place on our campus. This brings the problem home, and it dramatically elevates our concern for the safety of our community. While the police are doing an excellent job, it became clear to us that it was time for the institution to enhance its support of the investigation.”

BU Police Chief Thomas Robbins says the victims in all four incidents have described the suspects as young black males between the ages of 16 and 20, all wearing hooded sweatshirts. Robbins says Brookline police have several excellent leads, including an enhanced video showing suspects on their way to and from the third robbery, on October 5. Those suspects are also believed to be involved in the second robbery.

Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary says one suspect in the October 5 robbery was wearing a red sweatshirt and appeared to be wearing new Air Jordan sneakers and carrying a backpack. He also had braces on his teeth. The second suspect was wearing a gray sweatshirt with two numbers on the front, the first of which looks like a “6″. That suspect was carrying a purple backpack.

O’Leary says the suspects in the second robbery are three black males, one of whom is about 5-foot-11, and two of whom are about 5-foot-10. The taller of the men is believed to have been wearing black and silver earrings. O’Leary says a second suspect, who displayed a handgun, had dark skin and was carrying a backpack. The third suspect had short black hair and wore a dark sweatshirt. He says the suspects approached their victims with a handgun held at the suspect’s waist, and in one case asked if the victim had a cell phone.

The Brookline chief says his department has not determined if the suspects in the video were involved in the first and third robberies. He said Brookline police have been working closely and aggressively with the Boston and the BU Police Departments.

In response to the robberies, Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore has called the BU community to a town hall meeting tonight at 8 p.m. in the Metcalf Ballroom of the George Sherman Union.

“These incidents have triggered a powerful response from the community,” says Elmore (SED’87). “We’ve had multiple requests from our students and several parents to be able to discuss these incidents and the responses of the BUPD and the Brookline Police Department. I’m hoping students will bring their concerns and share them with the community.”

Elmore says Robbins and O’Leary are expected at tonight’s meeting.

The robberies began on September 23, at approximately 3 a.m., at Thorndike Street and Hamilton Road, when two BU students were robbed of an iPhone, an Android cell phone, a wallet, and $50. Two days later, three BU students were robbed at around 5 p.m. at Egmont and St. Paul Streets, and on Friday, October 5, a recent BU graduate was mugged in broad daylight just four blocks from Commonwealth Avenue. The incident took place at 5:15 p.m. at St. Paul and Thatcher Streets.

Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 800-494-TIPS (8477), or text to CRIME (27463).

26 Comments
Art Jahnke

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

26 Comments on $10,000 Reward for Information about Robbers

  • Mahimahi on 10.10.2012 at 5:34 pm

    Its about time BU!Not to undermine any of the previous and ongoing efforts, but something of this magnitude and more is expected when students of a university with high reputations are targeted!

    • M------ on 10.10.2012 at 10:47 pm

      A takeaway from the video:

      They are of highschool age and sporting backpacks.

      I am sure that the kid in grey is wearing a white collared shirt. And the kid in black might also be wearing a white collared shirt, but it is more difficult to see. As for the kid in red, his shirt is hidden.

      That being said, I know there are some highschools in boston with that dress code. Their school may ban jeans from the dresscode, but they probly had time to change their pants and they were smart enough not to wear their entire uniform and to put sweatshirts on.

      The robberies are taking place well after schools get out around 3pm, so it gives them plenty of time to make their way over to BU. But the robberies never occur that late, which means their families would not grow suspicious of them being missing.

      I bet if you posted a still-frame picture of this video in each of the local highschools, some students would be able to identify them. Shoes and sweatshirts are dead giveaways at schools with uniforms.

      Best of Luck,
      M

  • David on 10.10.2012 at 5:38 pm

    “However, last night’s robbery took place on our campus. This brings the problem home, and it dramatically elevates our concern for the safety of our community.”

    I am troubled that the several armed robberies that took place only a few blocks away did not elevate the University’s level of concern. I can assure Mr. Fiedler that students have been concerned for weeks, even if the University is only now stepping up its efforts. Why must it take an armed robbery on campus for the school to realize that it has a problem? Is it a PR issue or a liability issue? If it was truly a safety issue, I would imagine the level of concern might have increased days if not weeks ago.

    • Really? on 10.10.2012 at 6:19 pm

      David, I felt the same sting when I read this. Am I less of my university’s concern because I live 500 feet off of campus?

    • Bu student on 10.10.2012 at 6:25 pm

      I cannot agree more with this statement. That is exactly what I was thinking while I was reading this article.

      • off campus bu number on 10.10.2012 at 6:39 pm

        completely agree! The problem came home after the first robbery a block from my house

    • li on 10.10.2012 at 7:26 pm

      Totally agree.

      • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 9:01 pm

        i agree and i don’t even live off campus.

    • Paul on 10.10.2012 at 9:22 pm

      Notice how the University is severely concerned when there is off campus parties, however when robberies happen closer to campus than said parties nothing is done. Yeah, their priorities are straight.

    • Yeah Man Yeah on 10.10.2012 at 11:32 pm

      Yeah, BUPD should totally patrol all parts of Boston because students at BU might live there! I live on Newbury and I really wish that BUPD was there because I go to BU and I’m not responsible for living in a city! Or my friend who lives in Cambridge, why can’t BUPD protect her too?? WHAT AM I PAYING THIS MONEY FOR???? You mean to say that living in Allston doesn’t entitle me to private police protection?? This is ludicrous!

      /Sarcasm

      But seriously, BUPD can only do so much. How about you complain to the City of Brookline instead of blaming BU for robberies that happen off-campus?

    • Priscilla on 10.11.2012 at 11:46 am

      It is clear to me that BU has been very concerned about this situation since the first incident. I am a staff member at the university, working very close to where the crimes have been committed, and I can attest to the fact that the entire community of students, faculty, and staff have been receiving text and phone alerts about each instance. This is just one indication that our awareness and safety carry a very high priority with the university. Mr. Fiedler didn’t seem to me to be indicating anything different from that. This last incident, since it occurred on BU property, does add another aspect to this series of crimes, however.

      I think it is the location of the latest incident which made it possible for BU to offer the reward. I am sure that there are delicate jurisdictional issues which play into the response to this series of incidents — issues among BU police, Boston police, and Brookline police. It may be that, until one of the hold-ups occurred on BU property, BU’s hands were tied concerning which options they could exercise legally and/or without stepping on the toes of the Boston and Brookline police.

      I look forward to the suspects being apprehended soon and to our usual sense of safety returning to the Charles River campus.

  • Where's the face on 10.10.2012 at 5:40 pm

    any photos? i can’t see their faces

    • Grace on 10.10.2012 at 11:10 pm

      I hope you are just trying to be funny.

  • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 6:01 pm

    “While the police are doing an excellent job …”

    Yeah, sure they are.

  • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 7:18 pm

    “Based on police reports, there has been a pattern here,” says Fiedler (COM’77)

    Genius?

  • Harry Shapiro on 10.10.2012 at 8:25 pm

    It should be stressed that wearing a backpack is clearly a purposeful deception on the perpetrator’s part. A young man with a back pack so close to or on school property wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. Which is the point.

  • anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 9:08 pm

    could you please give more notice, rather than sending an email that there’s a townhall meeting less than 2 hours before it?

  • BU Tuition Payer on 10.10.2012 at 9:15 pm

    Based on police reports, there has been a pattern here,, is this great intuition or what.The robberies took place in less than a half square mile. I would have to agree there is a pattern in place, what is being done to disrupt this pattern and catch these thugs. Now that it is Commonwealth Avenue it hits home, the streets the previous attacks occurred on are two to three blocks off Commonwealth, places where BU students live and walk. Wake up!

  • Student on 10.10.2012 at 9:24 pm

    As a BU student living off campus, right in the area where the first robbery occurred, I just want to mention that while these repeated robberies make me extremely nervous, I feel that the police are actually doing a really really good job. I walk home from work every night after dark and despite the fact that I am not walking on the busiest of streets, I have seen at least one police car every 2 or 3 blocks every night for the past week. They seem to be doing a good job of patrolling and their presence makes me feel much safer. So thank you BUPD. I appreciate your efforts and I know you will catch these guys soon.

    • Becca on 10.10.2012 at 10:36 pm

      I completely agree. If you want to lessen your chance of getting robbed, move out of the city.

  • Parent13 on 10.10.2012 at 9:26 pm

    What the hey is going on here? I have a freshman student at BU who is having a hard time adjusting to being away and now has to deal with this…..Administration should be ashamed of themselves for not informing the parents of what has been happening on campus. It is starting to get dark out earlier and do we as parents need to worry about how our children get from one end of the campus to the other without becoming a victim…..I agree that BU police should step up foot patrol or better yet BIKE patrol. We need to make sure our children are in a safe environment and if it means incresing the police force at BU so be the case……maybe the students should start their own patrol of the campus…..be the “Guardian Dogs” and travel in packs. Parents weekend should be a real treat for the BU Staff. Hopefully they will have a special session addressing these concerns.

    • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 9:35 pm

      Entitlement much? The BUPD cannot control what happens outside of their jurisdiction (3 of the 4 robberies), nor can they be everywhere at once (at every single corner of campus). It takes a whole 30 seconds for someone to be robbed and then the perps flee… Its sad but it is a part of city life, its very difficult to blame the police on this one.

      • Romy on 10.10.2012 at 11:37 pm

        I completely agree. It seems like people are waiting for something to go wrong so they can complain about how someone is not doing their job.

      • Anonymous on 10.11.2012 at 6:41 am

        I also agree. Parents are paying a lot of money to provide a good education not to have their kids locked up in a castle. The school is in the middle of the city. These are unfortunate incidents and I hope that the perps are captured, but these types of things can happen in a big city.

  • Becca on 10.10.2012 at 10:29 pm

    I think the thing that angers me most is that one these kids had braces. Braces indicate social status. Only one of my siblings (I’m one of four) has had braces in my family because it’s all my family can afford. Braces are about $6,000.00 and most insurances do not cover a dime. For someone who has that kind of money to be stealing off of people, who have worked hard (be it their parents or themselves) to pay for the things they have, leaves me completely speechless. This is just a tangent, and something that I wanted to point out because it infuriates me to no end.

    On another note, I would give the BUPD some credit. No, the perpetrators have not been caught, but they have been doing all they can to solve the issue. The robbers are aware that they are on their radar so they have been adjusting these robberies to benefit themselves. This time it was a female, alone, on Comm. Ave. at night, in a poorly lit area. Robberies are a reality of living in a city; I think it’s a wake up call to be more on guard, which is a good thing because over time, people become comfortable and forget about being cautious.

    • Student on 10.11.2012 at 8:01 am

      Braces are not an indication of social status. Mine were completely covered by my insurance and I grew up poor.

      I give credit to where it’s due. When I physically see a cop patrolling the area (or better yet MORE police presence on campus) I’ll praise them. For now I’ll remain a skeptic.

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