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Robbery Spree Continues

Armed assailants flee fourth attack empty-handed


The spree of armed robberies that has had much of the Charles River Campus on edge continued Tuesday night with the fourth armed assault in just over two weeks. Boston University Police report that a female student was accosted at about 8:30 p.m. in the driveway of 808 Commonwealth Ave. The woman told police that two assailants, who brandished a handgun, fled after they learned she had nothing of value in her bag.

As in the three previous assaults, the suspects, who were wearing hooded sweatshirts, are black males between the ages of 16 and 20. No one has been injured in any of the incidents.

Peter Fiedler (COM’77), vice president for administrative services, says the woman called the BU Police, who arrived at the area after the suspects had fled through the parking lot.

“The BU Police and the Brookline Police are very, very concerned,” says Fiedler. “They are hell-bent to catch these guys, and they are asking all students to report anything suspicious as soon as they see it.”

On Friday, October 5, a recent BU grad was mugged in broad daylight just four blocks from Commonwealth Avenue. The incident took place at 5:15 p.m. at the corner of St. Paul and Thatcher Streets, one block from the robbery of three BU students at about 5 p.m. on September 25. Two days earlier, at approximately 3 a.m. on September 23, two BU students were robbed of an iPhone, an Android cell phone, a wallet, and $50 at the corner of Thorndike Street and Hamilton Road, about eight blocks from Friday’s incident.

Boston University Police added three more patrols to the area of the crimes in the immediate wake of the second robbery, and Brookline Police also stepped up patrols.

BUPD Chief Thomas Robbins warns students who see anything suspicious not to confront people on the street. Rather, he says, concerned members of the community can anonymously text information to the BUPD at tip411 (847411), keyword: BU.

BUPD Detective Lieutenant Peter DiDomenica advises students living on or off campus to follow some basic safety precautions:

  • Avoid poorly lit areas late at night.
  • Get a ride instead of walking. If walking is the only option, do so in large groups.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t wear headphones or talk on your cell phone.
  • At the first sign of trouble, dial 911 or the BUPD at 617-353-2121.

BUPD urges students, faculty, and staff to report suspicious people and activity on or near campus by calling 617-353-2121 or text messaging tip411 (847411), keyword: BU.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the victim in Tuesday’s robbery refused to hand over her possessions to robbers. In fact, the robbers left when they found nothing of value in her bag. We regret the error.

Art Jahnke

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

135 Comments on Robbery Spree Continues

  • Andy on 10.09.2012 at 11:44 pm

    Interesting… the announcement to the students said nothing was taken. The report said she was attacked. Did the assailants hit her after she didn’t hand over the phone or possessions?

    • Michele on 10.10.2012 at 12:02 pm

      Actually, you never have to be physically touched to be assaulted (or “attacked” as you put it. Just the mere act of someone saying to doing or acting in a threatening manner is an assault. You can be sure that even though this woman was not “touched”, the incident will have an impact upon her physical/emotional being.

      • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 12:38 pm

        Actually, the article says “accosted.” Not attacked. Not assaulted. She is a lucky lady but nonetheless likely greatly shaken.

    • Brad on 10.10.2012 at 1:18 pm

      Does anyone feel that this may be gang related?

      • ConcernedParent on 10.10.2012 at 3:09 pm

        Maybe the Illuminati? Or maybe Tupac is still alive?

      • SHUTUPBRAD on 10.11.2012 at 3:50 pm

        SHUT UP BRAD.

  • Steve on 10.10.2012 at 1:30 am

    Good to see they’re very, very concerned. I’m very, very concerned that it’s not safe for me to walk around Brookline and the BU area. I graduated, so I don’t have to go to class, but I fear for anyone who does as it’s now unsafe for students to merely walk to class, and I don’t feel safe walking to workout at FitRec either.

    These guys supposedly sat on the steps of a residential building last Friday (one I happened to have just moved out of a month ago) before robbing victim #3. These supposed increased patrols and previously mentioned undercover patrols didn’t notice three kids matching the description openly sitting on the front steps of a residential building? Three city police departments can’t catch three teenagers?

    I’d be very, very happy if there were arrests made.

    • India Love on 10.10.2012 at 10:25 am

      the description is 3 black kids wearing hoodies. Would you suggest they start questioning all black guys who wear hoodies now?

      • BU Tuition Payer on 10.10.2012 at 7:39 pm

        Proactive policing is the call right now. The Brookline Police and BU Police have to be proactive in apprehending these thugs. The area wherein the are robbing is relatively small, four times in three weeks and no answer yet, bring in Boston PD to assist, lose the egos!

        • Parent of Black Male Student on 10.11.2012 at 12:53 am

          As a parent, I am concerned for the safety of all BU students. As a parent of a black male student at BU, I am disappointed and highly frustrated with the lack of details on the description of the assailants. My student is in danger of being accosted by the robbers and being profiled by the police.

      • Concerned Parent on 10.10.2012 at 9:36 pm

        I have a suggestion… for two weeks BU ask all students to not wear hoodies. The police can then focus on the non-students wearing hoodies.

        • Also BU Parent on 10.11.2012 at 10:27 am

          What is that saying, oh yea – it is better to keep your mouth shut and allow people to think you are ignorant than to open your mouth an erase all doubt.

  • CM on 10.10.2012 at 5:51 am

    I’m sorry, but I think this is very poor editorial ethics on BU’s part. You should NEVER have advertised that she refused to hand over her posessions. All this does is set in peoples’ minds the idea that you should refuse to hand over your belongings to an ARMED robber, and you can walk away OK. Very disheartening.

    • Kasey Oliver on 10.10.2012 at 10:04 am

      I agree.

    • Kate on 10.10.2012 at 10:17 am

      Yes i agree.
      Another poor written article about robbery

    • Really? on 10.10.2012 at 11:53 am

      Exactly my first thought. It’s somehing that has been in the back of many peoples minds, “I wonder if the gun is real” or “I wonder what the young guys would do If i just said no and told them to *%&# off?”

      By reporting that she did just that and they fled and didn’t rob her, we now have the scene set for the next attack to potentially produce devastating outcomes. That sentence should have NEVER been published.

    • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 12:40 pm

      You’re all right. No belonging is worth more than your life and each of these encounters needs to be taken seriously.

    • older woman on 10.10.2012 at 12:43 pm

      Good journalism presents the facts, and it’s up to readers to decide what to do with them. Clearly you recognize that it is dangerous to refuse to hand over your valuables, right? Just because you read that someone did that successfully does not mean you are going to do the same. So relax, the writer provided all the information, quite responsibly. Trust people to read responsibly, just as you have.
      (Besides, doesn’t it deepen the portrait of the thieves to see they are scared, too? I think that’s pretty interesting.)

      • Brad on 10.10.2012 at 1:14 pm

        “(Besides, doesn’t it deepen the portrait of the thieves to see they are scared, too? I think that’s pretty interesting.)”

        This is what makes typing out the sentence dangerous in the first place. People think the theives are scared so may now be reluctant to compley with their orders. Furthermore, if the theives are indeed scraed, then this could cause them to act more recklessly to avoid escape or confrontation.

  • Somers on 10.10.2012 at 5:56 am

    Again?! Surely some surveillance camera must have caught sight of them by now! 808 Comm Ave isn’t exactly off the beat…

  • SL Wong on 10.10.2012 at 6:23 am

    Could the Boston University really do something to make the community safe for our kids? It is most shocking to find our children subject to such threat. Police should conduct more visible patrol as well as covert operation. Bring the culprits to justice asap.

  • The Gun Free Zone works well for criminals on 10.10.2012 at 7:25 am

    Apparently the criminals did not get the message that BU is gun free zone!! The campus of BU and its student body like that of most universities in the US today is an area wherein criminals know they are safe to go about their business since the population at large has been systematically disarmed and turned into ready made defenseless victims. How does victimization pass the smell test of strict scrutiny?

    • Rob on 10.10.2012 at 11:02 am

      Agreed 100%. It’s ridiculous that BU can’t protect us, it’s student base and yet it forbids us from protecting ourselves out of some misguided ideology based in faith rather than fact.

      • Go BU! on 10.10.2012 at 11:52 am

        Oh yeah, shootouts on the streets in dense urban environments are certain to end well. Let’s endanger everyone else besides the person being robbed, too.

        Wow are they misguided!

        • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 1:13 pm

          Implying that there are shootouts outside of the BU campus, where concealed carry is legal. It’s a deterrent.

    • Armed on 10.10.2012 at 1:34 pm

      Every student and faculty member should have the right to “carry” on campus. Period.

      • The Dude on 10.10.2012 at 7:32 pm

        And the BU Today Prize for the most imbecilic comment goes to…

    • EVAN on 10.11.2012 at 12:42 pm

      it’s so arrogant of BU to commit it self to any of it’s “campus policies” like this that can’t be enforced. While it gives students a false sense of security, it also gives their parents a false sense of the realities of HEY YOU LIVE IN A BIG CITY. The whole damn thing, from kenmore to packards corner, it’s not some protected private campus, it’s just buildings on either side of the dang street. Despite what bro-dudes with their dad’s CT plated BMWs might think, lots of people who DON’T go to BU go up and down Comm ave very day, in the pursuit of NON-BU related activities.

  • BU Advocate on 10.10.2012 at 7:55 am

    I have watched this play out from a distance for 3 weeks and now I have come to the conclusion that the inmates are running the asylum and that BU and the Brookline police or in way over their heads and the only sliver of optimism is that this last attack took place in Boston and that should have the Boston police fully engaged and they will not tolerate this. That being said it is time for us as parents who pay 55k a year to send our kids to BU to become personal advocates and activists on behalf of our children and demand a meeting with Dr Brown ASAP. I am ready to spearhead this effort and organzie both the students and parents and do what it takes to demand a meeting with Dr Brown and make it clear that we will not tolerate this terror of our kids as well as to force BU to stand up and publicy state what it is they plan to do about this. If we can create critical mass we will be a voice of reason that BU can not ignore. If interested please email at BUCRIMEWAVE.COM

    • AP on 10.10.2012 at 10:12 am

      BU is an urban school with an open campus on public streets. The University president certainly wields political power, but he can’t go around punishing area residents (even if they are criminals) for crimes committed mostly on public property.

      And as I’ve said before, area residents have much more at stake in these robberies. There are families with small children in strollers that live in that area. Dog walkers. People who work late shifts. Senior citizens. They can’t all lock themselves in their guarded full-service dormitory after 4 pm.

      • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 10:27 am

        this is not about right or wrong its about protecting our kids and pushing any and all levers that are available. BU need to take a stand go public state their plan and put their money on the line. You can be in denial or pass the baton but I already have 22 parents who have contacted me willing to donate money for a reward and we are in the process of setting up a meeting with Dr Brown. I respect any and all opinions but for me I will do what it takes to protect my child who right now is living in fear

        • BU Student on 10.11.2012 at 12:06 am

          Calling and harassing Dr. Brown is only going to stress Dr. Brown out, and won’t accomplish much in the long run. As one of the previous comments suggested, he likely doesn’t have the power to change much of what is going on. The only thing he can do is make escort services readily available, and that has been the case even before the robberies were committed. It’s on the students to be proactive and alert. There’s no need to blindly follow one’s emotions, as visceral and understandably as they might be, and scapegoat Dr. Brown. If you are worried about your kids then make sure they understand what precautions they should take in the urban environment they are in, teach them what you know about street smarts, and hope for the best.

    • Daniel H on 10.10.2012 at 12:05 pm

      Do you really think the administration hasn’t taken this matter seriously? What should they do, arrest every black teen who ventures too close to Kenmore square?

    • concerned parent on 10.10.2012 at 1:11 pm

      I agree with you. something needs to be done. I think the escort service and the BU shuttle should be taking kids around, even off campus in these extraordinary times. I have spoken withBU and Brookline police and yes it is overtheir heads, Boston police neeeds to get involved. This is terrible, I am with you, something needsto be done. We need to keep calling and advoacting, I have a call into President Brown and Dean Elmore.

      • Carlita on 10.10.2012 at 8:53 pm

        We send our kids away from home to get a good education ,with the tuition we pay defenetly the kids should be escorted in a shuttle to there classes ,and please please make sure the shuttle driver is well monitored ,including back round check .
        I’m very concerned and worried about my son ,should we start looking into different safe environment university ????

    • Rob on 10.10.2012 at 4:00 pm

      What a bizarre response. You’d think that the adults would be a bit more … adult.

  • bu student on 10.10.2012 at 8:04 am

    i am so concerned and upset at the same time .
    first month of school and already four robbery has happened.
    BU is not a safe campus anymore …..

    • Go BU! on 10.10.2012 at 10:41 am

      It never was- no safer than any other urban university, that is. Anyone who thinks that violent crime can’t happen when attending a school with an urban campus is naive. In fact, given that it appears that these crimes are the work of the same group of young thugs, it actually makes me feel better. Yes, they haven’t been caught yet, but I would be more worried about the security environment of the university if these sorts of events were occurring frequently and appeared to be unrelated. Everything about this situation points to a few bad apples- once they are dealt with, problem solved. It’s not like there’s some larger systemic failure here, despite the crowing of all the turkey lurkeys on here.

    • EVAN on 10.11.2012 at 12:44 pm

      Hogwarts Isn’t Safe Anymore

  • Greg Forman on 10.10.2012 at 8:18 am

    The university will probably wait ’till somebody is shot, then provide a shuttle for students walking to and from the campuses at night.

    • Kate on 10.10.2012 at 10:21 am

      YES.and, watch, there will be other robberies. If those criminals are aware of police “work” they will never leave this place. Its juicy for them. No cops, well-off students walking around. Sure …

    • BU Student on 10.10.2012 at 11:06 am

      BU did nothing even after someone was shot a couple of months back. It was a BU student and he was shot dead somewhere near Allston St. Even then, a couple of students had petitioned that they should have a BU shuttle service that works at the least until Packards Corner, but BU paid no heed obviously and now we have 4 armed robberies right on campus.

    • concerned parent on 10.10.2012 at 1:13 pm

      they really cannot wait, it is just terrible, I am concerned because Bu police and Brookline police seem ill equipted if this cannot be stopped

  • hanna on 10.10.2012 at 8:42 am

    Why is there such poor security and protection by the student parking lot? 808 Commonwealth Ave is the only location that commuting students are allowed to park during the day, and we need to be able to feel safe – not only leaving our vehicles there, but also walking to our cars at whatever hour we leave class/work.

    It is strange that I felt safer working and attending classes on the BU Medical Campus, which is known to be in a worse part of town.

  • Jimmy(SMG) on 10.10.2012 at 8:56 am

    First thing is first how bout the cops actually patrol thre areas? Every article I read says there are increased patrols but a “patrol” probably consists of one cop driving up and down a street that takes 7 secs out of the total 24 hr period. Any body who has a clue would have caught these punks already. How bout the police start their late night “cops” shtick and send a girl out side to walk around the campus, stalk them and wait for the degenerates to strike? This is all common sense. Any young kid will hide in a building or in a tree faster than a donut king can get anywhere. STEP IT UP. Many of us are paying a mortgage to come to this school and its pathetic that we get these consist emails.

    • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 12:47 pm

      Are you sending all these remarks to the Town of Brookline, as well? All of the incidents occurred in Brookline, even the one at 808 Commonwealth.

    • concerned parent on 10.10.2012 at 1:14 pm

      I agree police needs to step up securuty, I am very upset, you are 100% correct!

  • Phyllis Stefanov-Wagner on 10.10.2012 at 9:22 am

    I don’t see the most important piece of advice for victims. Don’t try to stand up to a person with a gun. Your life is worth far more than your iPhone. They’re just not comparable. If your life doesn’t seem worth that much to you, ask your parents. That last woman was very, very lucky and no one should count on luck like that.
    Tip: a cellpnone’s real value is in the contacts list. Keep a copy of those valuable phone numbers on your computer and on a list at home, and the phone can surrendered much more easily.

  • Edie Tanis on 10.10.2012 at 9:22 am

    Can we please remind people to hand over possessions when accosted at gunpoint? None of these is as valuable as life.

  • BU parent on 10.10.2012 at 9:39 am

    I think the BUPD should start doing foot patrols on campus.

    • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 12:48 pm

      They already do foot patrols. They obviously cannot do those in Brookline. You need to contact the Town of Brookline.

    • BU mom on 10.10.2012 at 7:27 pm

      BU police should be doing foot patrols and so should the Brookline police dept. This activity should not be dismissed because it is an urban campus, security should be tightened. There should be shuttles and escorts until the suspects are caught. This is the fourth assault and the parents are finally informed with an email.

  • Scared Student on 10.10.2012 at 9:40 am

    Are you kidding me? Why haven’t these guys been caught yet?!?! What is BUPD/BPD doing to prevent this? I’ve always been proud of how safe BU campus is despite it being an open, urban campus, but I cannot say that without lying anymore. Disappointed and very scared for my life…

    • Bu student on 10.10.2012 at 2:58 pm

      Seriously, what these police departments are doing over two weeks!!!!!

  • R M on 10.10.2012 at 9:43 am

    The advice from the police is ridiculous. I don’t know anyone who has a car. Taking public transit and walking are the only realistic options. Also the advice to avoid poorly lit areas is dumb as a number of these robberies have taken place in broad daylight. And I’m sure no one is just hanging around in isolated areas waiting to be robbed, these people are walking home. There’s no much you can do to avoid the area if the neighborhood you live in is unsafe.

  • BU Mom on 10.10.2012 at 9:46 am

    I agree with the statements regarding quickly turning over possessions. I fear that this girl’s actions may push the perpetrators to an escalation in their acts. The NEXT time someone refuses to hand over a phone or cash, etc. they may be ready to get more aggressive or even fire their gun. Her refusal probably caught them off guard as their previous victims – at least the ones we know about – quickly surrendered their valuables. They may not be willing to settle for that again. Get a decoy out on the streets – or better yet – FLOOD the area with highly visible, ARMED law enforcement to send a clear message that this area will not be easy pickings for any scumbag who can wield a gun. Stop this madness before someone gets hurt!!

    • concerned parent on 10.10.2012 at 1:18 pm

      as a concerned mom, I agree with you. I have spoken with Bu police, Brookline police, Dean elmore’s office, Prsident Brown’s office and nothing has been done. the increased patrols are doing nothing, robberies are continuing and it is terrible. I think Bu shuttle needs to escort kids and the escort service as well, I donot care if it is out of their liability, we pay alot of money to send our kids to be educated as well to be safe, that is part of a good education to feel secure! THIS IS TERRIBLE! KIDS ARE AFRAID!

  • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 9:50 am

    there comes a point in time where after 4 armed robberies it becomes evident that BU is not capable of protecting our children nor do they seem to have a sense of concern or alarm. At the end of the day we find BU there is no BU without the 55k a year in tuition that we as parents pay and at the end of the day Dr Brownn works for us and we pay his salary. The time has come to grab the bull by the horns and for us to organzie ourselves and take our concerns directly to Dr Brown and demand action be taken and force the accountability that is now clealry missing. We need to demand that BU offer a reward for the capture arrest and conviction of these punks with no uncertain terms. I am willing to organzie this and I would ask all interested and concerned BU parents to email me at bucrimewave@gmail.com and I would like to get at least 100 parents to sign a petition that I will deliver with other interested parents to Dr Brown

    • Morgan on 10.10.2012 at 10:14 am

      I’m sorry but that it just a little naive to me. Do you think he isn’t doing everything he can to attempt to stop these? BU is certainly not enjoying these muggings amidst a $1 Billion donation campaign. Focus your hoopla somewhere else productive like catching the criminals.

      • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 10:23 am

        get your head out of the sand I know for a fact that BU and DR Brown are in denial and like any issue pressure coming from a critical mass of parents who are willing to put their money where there mouths are and are willing to go to the press will raise the heat and most importantly protect our chidlren. I will personally commit to put up $5000 as a reward

        • Morgan on 10.10.2012 at 10:44 am

          Reward for what? The police doing their job and catching them? Or do you want armed groups of students patrolling around Brookline?

          And please just stop. It is in no way a fact. Why don’t you lobby for BU to change its pepper spray policy instead?

          • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 12:51 pm

            The “pepper spray policy” is that of the City of Boston and of Massachusetts who require a permit to carry pepper spray. Contact them.

          • No on 10.10.2012 at 3:55 pm

            Actually Kitty, BU’s “pepper spray policy” is that students can’t have pepper spray period, permit or not.

        • When Inmates Are Running the Discussion Board on 10.10.2012 at 3:33 pm

          I love the sure-fire plan of getting 100 parents to sign a petition. This will clearly help to catch the robbers. Incidentally, I’m also concerned that the New Orleans Saints keep losing football games…perhaps if I get a petition going and send it to the President of the Saints, they’ll start winning again.

  • The Gun Free Zone works well for criminals on 10.10.2012 at 9:51 am

    Everything recommend here aside from allowing people who have concealed carry permits to carry on campus will not deter crime. Cops cannot be everywhere and cameras are easily avoided or made useless by hoodies. The problem is obvious but the solution is apparently not PC in this liberal mecca.

    • Morgan on 10.10.2012 at 10:11 am

      What you say it true to some degree. But consider it still useless.
      You need to be 21 to apply for a Class A LTC in Boston. Besides that fact that you will almost certainly not be issued the license it takes 6 months and has a residency requirement if you are not from MA.
      So considering that you’ll need a license in your home state plus one from MA if you are out of state (like the majority of BU students)you are looking at the average age of 22 by the time the permits clear. So essentially no undergrads can legally carry a handgun even if BU changed their policy. Stop harping on the subject. I also don’t want someone with a handgun letting off rounds in an urban environment over the defense of a cellphone (and I’m a big firearms enthusiast).

      A far more appropriate solution would be expanding the restricted firearms ID permit to include defense weapons such as an Impact Baton and the appropriate training classes.

      • The Gun Free Zone works well for criminals on 10.10.2012 at 2:30 pm

        The FBI statistics show that in most cases no shots are fired. it is the assumption that victim might be armed that deter the crime not the actual firing of the gun which the FBI statistics show rarely if ever need to happen to deter crime. In other words, the criminals prefer victims who are vulnerable…….they are after just trying to earn a living and like everyone they do not want to get shot in the process. They are also smart enough to seek out the most vulnerable victims in the areas wherein firearms owners are the least likely to be found.

    • anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 3:49 pm

      When you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns

  • BU Student on 10.10.2012 at 10:06 am

    @gun free zone

    what do you propose? Letting students possess weapons? Call this a liberal mecca all you want but I think thats an absurd idea anywhere.

    • Morgan on 10.10.2012 at 10:15 am

      A fair number of campuses have experienced success doing so. They are, however, usually self contained and in a non-urban environment. It does not seem suitable for a campus like BU.

    • student on 10.10.2012 at 10:18 am

      Guns on campus IS an absurd idea, but the rule that students cannot carry pepper spray also seems absurd at this point. I would feel much safer carrying pepper spray walking home from my 6-9 class at night, but if I do, it’s against BU’s policy? What is the punishment for that? There’s a punishment for trying to protect yourself. Now THAT is absurd.

      • Morgan on 10.10.2012 at 10:40 am

        Rather face the BU punishment then the legal one and make sure you have a restricted FID. On the other hand pepper spray isn’t too useful in an armed mugging compared to say a domestic dispute.

        I believe the police “Gun Free Zone” was describing wasn’t a broad “Guns on campus” but BU lifting its gun free zone and allowing those licensed to carry concealed to do so on campus. I don’t agree with that in this case but we aren’t talking about every other student tucking a pistol in their pants and walking around BU. Boston has perhaps one of the most annoying conceal carried licensing processes in the U.S. It would be limited to say 1 of every 1,000 students.

      • JTM on 10.10.2012 at 11:27 am

        It’s also against the law to carry mace or pepper spray unless you have a restricted FID card, which you can get from a local police department. The problem for college students is that you need to be a state resident, and have a state driver’s license or ID card. So even if BU didn’t have the policy it has, many students wouldn’t be able to carry pepper spray anyhow.

        • Amanda on 10.10.2012 at 1:28 pm

          College students can get a pepper spray license if they show an out-of-state ID and a MA college ID (like the BU ID card). I know this is true because I have done it. The in-state residency requirement is waived for students.

      • Joe Sixpack on 10.10.2012 at 12:40 pm

        Even though mace/pepper spray/OC spray is illegal to carry without a MA FID, no cop or court is going to punish a female who used it in self defense while being attacked. After a near attack this past summer, I gave a female friend a can of mace to carry (not a MA resident) and showed her how to properly use it, and she still carries it now. If the cops really want to hassle her the most they may do is take it from her. (My local gun shop obviously knew the pink cartridge I was buying wasn’t for me as well)

        • Rob on 10.10.2012 at 3:17 pm

          Actually carrying it on school grounds is a major criminal offense, as in any weapon.

          • Joe Sixpack on 10.10.2012 at 5:06 pm

            public schools maybe

    • The Gun Free Zone works well for criminals on 10.10.2012 at 2:32 pm

      I do not see bad guys committing armed robbery at gun clubs do you?

  • PK on 10.10.2012 at 10:17 am

    To the trolls shilling for the gunmakers’ lobby: So you want to put firearms in the hands of a population that is largely drunk or stoned every week from 5 p.m. Thursday to 4 a.m. Sunday? I agree something must be done about this crime spree, but that’s not it. What you call “PC” I call “CS,” for common sense.

    • Morgan on 10.10.2012 at 10:41 am

      I wish I could spend my weekends that way, because I know a large percentage of the BU population doesn’t…

      • PK on 10.10.2012 at 11:37 am

        I’m sure that’s true, and I also think for the more visible/typical students, if they’re not hurting anyone, it’s fine to party during their down time, and that many manage to do so while still learning and maintaining good grades. I just don’t want them all walking around packing heat. I agree with you and other posters about changing the rules regarding pepper spray and impact batons (always incorporating training, like you said) for the attempted robberies *not* taking place at gunpoint. (For the current spate, I’d say just give the thugs the phone, walk away unharmed, and trust that their increasingly brazen and frequent incursions will get them locked up sooner rather than later, whether at the hands of BUPD or the mysterious, reward-offering Parental Avenger.)

    • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 10:53 am

      You could say the same thing about cars, yet we let them drive.

      • PK on 10.10.2012 at 11:46 am

        Yeah, but how many urban college students drive? Your point is valid, but that’s more a suburban high school issue. (Or an everywhere, rest-of-everyone’s-lives issue.)

        • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 1:27 pm

          Probably more students drive than would ever end up going through the Massachusetts training and licensing process for an LTC. Massachusetts is very discretionary about issuing LTC’s. Engaging in risky behavior is a great way to get your license denied or revoked.

  • NY mom on 10.10.2012 at 10:20 am

    This is horrifying. It seems as if the BU and Brookline police have lost all ability to keep our children safe. You need to get police on the streets, in daunting numbers, at all times of the day. Seeing “cops on the beat” could dissuade these punks from terrorizing, and potentially killing one of our children. And give you half a chance of catching them. You have a sacred trust – to care for our children – and I can’t tell you how I regret sending my child to your institution. I am rethinking that decision, and unless you regain control of the security of the West Campus, I will not be sending my child to you next year.

    • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 10:28 am

      help me raise money for a reward

    • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 12:59 pm

      Please stop channeling your efforts at vilifying the university. Raising money for a reward is not a bad idea. But what about focusing your outrage on the young men who are committing the crimes? BU does have a responsibility to take proactive measures to protect our children while they are on our campus or involved in University activities off-campus, but cannot possibly extend that to every place off of the campus that they may go. These are so clearly local kids who live in the area and know where to hide, and it’s irresponsible to suggest that the Brooklline police are not canvassing the projects and interviewing people who live in the area.

      • BUgirl on 10.11.2012 at 9:48 am

        That’s the problem, Kitty, they aren’t canvassing the projects and interviewing people who live in the area. I live there and can tell you they are absolutely not doing that.

      • Grouper on 10.11.2012 at 11:14 pm

        I can tell you, for a fact, that the Brookline public housing projects are absolute CESSPOOLS, and HOTBEDS of sin and criminal activity. They have some of the worst crime rates in all of Massachusetts. Wretched folk in those buildings, I could go on and on….

        But yes, I don’t see why there is not a door to door investigation of each and every public housing unit in the area. What do they have to hide? If they are innocent, then they will not mind authorities inspecting their homes? The drum beat just goes on and on….terrible.

        I was one of the first to come out for the FBI and police to canvass the wealthier neighborhoods of Greenwich, CT when all this Wall Street abuse and fraud came to light a number of years ago. I mean, that’s where all of the bankers and traders live, right? What about Bernie Madoff?! My lord, I was expecting a legion of officers to descend upon the Upper East Side of Manhattan! This type of fleecing of the American public is CLEARLY endorsed by these socialite scumbags….why not bust in all of their doors?

        The state of police enforcement in the country is pathetic, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • student on 10.10.2012 at 10:22 am

    if I am licensed to carry in Massachusetts, I have every right to be carrying pepper spray for my own safety. At this point, it might be the only thing that protects me. This is absurd:

    “Possession of mace or pepper spray by any student on University property (even by those licensed to carry pepper spray through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) is strictly prohibited.”

    • Joe Sixpack on 10.10.2012 at 12:45 pm

      Also Class A LTC here too. I agree that university restrictions (in this regard) should not supersede a state regulated firearms licensing board who actually conducts background checks before issuing permits. (ie: not everyone is allowed to carry). That being said, I personally still would not carry a firearm even if the university allowed it

      • Rob on 10.10.2012 at 3:46 pm

        The University rules are in accordance with MA state law. The state law says that you CANNOT carry on a university campus unless the University WAIVES the law, which it has the right to do

  • Student on 10.10.2012 at 10:48 am

    Seriously – we live in a city. As small as and intimate as Boston can feel, it’s still a major city. These things happen – and it sucks, and they shouldn’t, but it is something that you have to remember to be on guard against. I live around the corner from the previous robberies, and have class in 808. Maybe it’s became I came from a more dangerous city, but I feel safe here. I keep my phone, ipod, anything like safe out of sight – walking around talking/listening not only makes it hard to notice your surroundings, but also advertises the fact you may have something worth taking.

    Those increased patrols – cars at every other corner leading down Comm Ave and cruising the streets in between, at minimum. Also a good handful of foot cops walking around. At least down near where the first three happened, their presence is highly visible.

    And I definitely DO NOT want the ability for students to carry guns on campus. Aside from all the considerations of “drunk co-eds with handguns”, I can easily picture what might have happened if both robber and victim had a gun. Luckily, all of these incidents ended safely – but if the victim had pulled out a gun, someone would have gotten shot. And one gun vs a group is poor odds.

  • tomandsarah on 10.10.2012 at 10:52 am

    @gun free zone
    So you want to see a shoot out on comm ave? This is not the Okay Corral tough guy. I have a LTC permit and still think you are being absurd. If someone pulled a gun and asked for my phone I would give them my phone regardless of whether or not I was carrying at the time. Some of us even though armed are not looking for an excuse to shoot someone unlike Rambo here.

    A gun fight over a phone is moronic and likely to get bystanders injured or killed.

    While a bit frightening I am sure this is a couple of stupid kids who live in the area. When they are caught, and they will be, their lives are over now that they are multiple felons. If the consequences of that do not frighten them the idea that they might be robbing someone who is armed won’t either.

    • Go BU! on 10.10.2012 at 11:33 am

      Well said

  • BU DAD on 10.10.2012 at 10:53 am

    I was at BU last Thursday night picking up my student. It was aroung 6 pm so we figured we would walk down the steet to grab a bite. It was about a 20 minute walked each direction. We went from Agganis arena toward the BU bridge, we walked on both sides of the road. The whole time we were there, we left around 9 pm, I did not see a single BU, Boston, or Brookline police offer. If the are doing something, it is not on the streets they are completely absent.

    • Tom on 10.10.2012 at 11:29 am

      Sadly, I have seen this as well. I am one of those BU students that frequently goes for runs on Commonwealth Ave/Esplanade area, usually at night from 7-9. I can tell you that I rarely see cops. Maybe once every half-hour or so as I run through campus. This low level of police patrol, particularly at this point in the “robbing spree” is comically bad. Is BUPD/BPD undermanned or are we not taking these robberies seriously enough yet? You can tell already by these comments that BU student body, family, and graduates are starting to feel extremely insecure in what should be a home away from home

    • Kitty on 10.10.2012 at 1:04 pm

      You should give the Chiefs of the BU and Brookline Police this information. It’s current; it’s detailed, and it should be shared.

  • JC on 10.10.2012 at 11:23 am

    As a grad student at BU, I am becoming more concerned about this situation with each passing robbery. The fact that the 4th victim refused to give up her belongings is particularly worrisome. You should ALWAYS give up your possessions when faced with a weapon. Saying “No” can have dire consequences. The robbers in this particular incident are now more likely prepared to be aggressive in the future by such a refusal. Also, where are the increased police patrols? I understand that we only have so much manpower, but with 4 armed robberies now at our school, you’d think we would be able to secure the area a bit more. I only hope that this quickly gets under control before someone becomes seriously hurt.

  • Rachel on 10.10.2012 at 11:27 am

    Seriously? The only time I see cops on Comm Ave is when they’re parked outside the Dunkin’ Donuts by Babcock Street. They are otherwise fairly consistent in their absence.

    And just to echo what others have said–yeah, there really ought to be a note, whether editorial or from the BUPD (since they’re being so helpful), that you do NOT refuse to hand over your goods when somebody flashes a gun in your face. Nothing you own is worth more than your life.

    • Em on 10.10.2012 at 4:05 pm

      I walked one block today – on Comm Ave from St Paul to Pleasant – and four police cars passed me in that short time, two BU and two Brookline. They’re out there now.

  • Concerned Parent on 10.10.2012 at 10:37 am

    It is outrageous that Boston University, Brookline and Boston police have not done more to stop the crime wave or up their physical presence (covert and overt) in the area. I was at BU on Sunday and the only place I saw police was in front of the Agannis Arena to guide traffic at an event. Guess what? The real problem is across the street on the other side of Commonwealth Avenue and the block behind it. St. Paul is a major thoroughfare for BU students!!! This most recent crime took place at 808 Commonwealth. The criminals are getting bolder. Where do the muggings have to take place for administration to take firmer action to safeguard the community. South Campus may be in Brookline but it’s part of BU. BU owns lots of housing and places students there. The backside of many administrative buildings abut this neighborhood. It is BU’s responsibility to keeep it safe and work closely and effectively with Brookline police to get the job done. These three teenage thugs must live close by because they have the opportunity to observe freely and flee quickly. We need results. If there were more patrols and cops walking a beat this wouldn’t be happening in the broad daylight. And if BU-owned buildings don’t already have surveillance cameras on the outside, they should. Start spending money where it counts. The campus has enough athletic fields.

    • Go BU! on 10.10.2012 at 11:32 am

      What’s south campus have to do with anything? These crimes are taking place around West.

    • Geography Police on 10.10.2012 at 4:27 pm

      Actually, South Campus is in the City of Boston.

      • Wrong on 10.10.2012 at 11:50 pm

        I live in South, it’s in Brookline.

        • Double wrong on 10.11.2012 at 4:19 pm

          Most of South campus (all of Buswell, Park Drive, Mountford to St. Mary’s St.) is in the City of Boston.

  • M on 10.10.2012 at 11:44 am

    Just get a bike and run the robbers down when they try to approach you.

  • Kyle on 10.10.2012 at 12:21 pm

    Maybe is we didn’t need to have so many officers doing security details at literally every construction site around, those officers could be fighting crime! Let the police do their jobs.

  • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 12:41 pm

    it is very exciting to see how many parents have contatced me about the idea to create a petition and demand a meeting with Dr Brown and insist that BU does more and makes a public statement what their intentions are as well as to get them to put up a reward. I am going to create a web site later today where we can all sign a petiion and make contributions for a reward. This is the only way BU will act and as parents we have strength in numbers

  • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 2:05 pm

    Hot off the press BU is announcing a reward later this afternoon!!! Anyone who does not think my approach is not working and that we cant be effective as a parent community please take notice and I am working on securing a meeting witgh Dr Brown

  • CFA Staffer on 10.10.2012 at 2:05 pm

    No mention is made in the article about the BU Escort Service. Is that service still available to students, faculty, and staff who aren’t able to find companionship for the walk home…or to their car, especially in the late evening? http://www.bu.edu/escort/ 617-353-4877

    • BU student who lives in Brookline on 10.10.2012 at 8:46 pm

      Yeah.. I just called the escort services to confirm how far off campus they would extend this service, their response: “We can’t go off campus.”

      I live a block away from where the third robbery occurred, this is absurd.

      • BU student in Brookline on 10.10.2012 at 11:09 pm

        I had the same experience at 2am Saturday (Sunday morning) night when I was walking home through North Brookline. I asked how far off campus do you go, they said we don’t go off campus, have a good night, and hung up. They didn’t even suggest I take a cab or avoid a certain area. Nothing.

  • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 2:16 pm

    there will be a meeting tonight with the dean of students and the BU student body our pressue is working now lets give BU the chance they deserve to demonstate they have a plan

  • Z on 10.10.2012 at 2:20 pm

    Should we refer to students as “children” in these comments? They’re all adults. Actually, these robbers appear to be their own age or younger, so the children are more likely to be the robbers than the victims. BU Students are responsible for their actions. With that said, the university should add a shuttle like many other urban campuses have.

    • AP on 10.10.2012 at 3:42 pm

      I agree. I’ve been reading these comments and am quite disturbed by the number of parents who feel their 18-22 year old is a child who needs Mom or Dad to storm in and meet with the president to fix things for them. If my mom had done that, I would have been absolutely humiliated, and I’m not THAT much older than these students.

      BU does have a shuttle. It runs from the Medical Center to West Campus and back in a loop. It’s ALWAYS packed, so I’m not sure why people think BU does not have a shuttle. Also, the 57 bus and the B line trolley run through the campus, and there’s a Hubway station. There’s lots of ways to get around besides walking.

      • Jenn on 10.10.2012 at 3:57 pm

        ^THANK you, I thought I was going crazy thinking these parents were flying off the hinges. Cities can be dangerous! You live your life and you take every precaution, if someone presents a gun you give up your precious “stuff” and file a police report.

        Helicopter parents need to back off!!

      • Kate on 10.10.2012 at 6:29 pm

        this is not fix for them. what do you mean? this is a problem for a broader community rather than just some BU students. this is not “their” (students) fault that those robbers are out there.
        and about parenting. you will be forever a child for your parents even when you are 40. you Are her/his son/daughter until they pass away. once you become a parent you will get that feeling. now you think you are a grown up and all parents actions towards you are humiliating….

    • Em on 10.10.2012 at 4:03 pm

      Totally agree. Helicopterism. And one of my “children” is a BU student.

  • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 2:20 pm

    Credit to the BU leadership team for having a direct discussion and hearing our concerns and starting the process today of becoming proactive instead of reactive lets hear their plan later tonight and lets keep the pressue on. I have asked with no uncertainty for a meeting with DR Brown and I would ask that parents who believe in this stratgey to continue to email me at bucrimewave@gmail.com

  • BU Parent Deeply Concered on 10.10.2012 at 2:25 pm

    This evening, Wednesday October 10, we will be holding a town hall style conversation in the Metcalf Ballroom of the GSU (2nd floor) – 8:00pm; to discuss the recent armed robberies and response to the crimes as well as general student safety. The University will be represented by Vice President for Administrative Services Peter Fiedler, Chief of Boston University Police Thomas Robbins; we will also have a representative from the Brookline Police Department on hand – the meeting will be moderated by Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore.

    • BU parent on 10.10.2012 at 7:28 pm

      I wish my son can go to this but he has lab until 9 or 10. He always takes the shuttle late at night or walks with a group of other students.

  • Jenn on 10.10.2012 at 3:02 pm

    OK, everyone needs to calm the bleep down. Yes, we have a situation here, but the BUPD, Brookline PD and now the Boston PD will catch these kids. Luckily, thus far there’s been no violence. Your children (who yes, are adults) have a greater likelihood of getting in a car wreck or getting hit by a car on Commonwealth Avenue (with the way many kids cross the street) than getting mugged by assailants.

    People keep vigilant, if you see something then say something.. but this mass hysteria and freakout at the BU administration will absolutely solve nothing. Boston is a fairly safe city, and for an urban campus BU is incredibly safe.

    Though it strikes me as odd that these kids would use a weapon to steal things from BU students, they could just go to the library or the GSU and TAKE these items when the students leave them unattended — theft happens all the time on campus without confrontation.

  • Rob on 10.10.2012 at 3:31 pm

    BU Today is selectively posting the pro-concealed carry commentary. Censorship much?

    • Anonymous on 10.10.2012 at 4:27 pm

      Are there any student groups advocating for this?

      • Rob on 10.10.2012 at 9:33 pm

        I tried to get a Concealed Carry on Campus chapter to come to BU, they didn’t seem terribly interested. MA isn’t exactly a rights friendly state.

  • BU parent on 10.10.2012 at 3:35 pm

    The Chief of BUPD and the Brookline police dept. are having a townhall, meeting with the students about what they plan to do about the robberies. Also you can call the Dean’s office and one of the Dean’s will talk to you about what they are planning to do.

  • Resident on St. Paul b/w Egmont and Thatcher on 10.10.2012 at 3:49 pm

    Listen, I live on the block. One armed robbery occurred 10 steps north of my apartment and another 10 steps south. The following steps MUST be taken:

    (1) Instead of claiming to ramp up patrol, BU and Brookline Police should actually do so. It’s obvious to see where they’re staking out [plain clothes or not]. I walk the block multiple times a day. There’s simply not enough patrol.

    (2) Although two robberies have occured during the day, Brookline must fix St. Paul’s street lighting. CHANGE THE BULBS. Residents are practically walking blind at night. These armed robbers are clearly picking up speed and changing their tactics – they know their best bet now is to rob at night.

    (3) Most importantly, BU MUST ESTABLISH A SHUTTLE PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS. BU’s current escort service [on foot] is not practical or sufficient. Most universities [including my undergrad] have programs in place – vans which shuttle students within a mile radius of the campus library after dark until the library closes. Our tuition should be directed to stronger programs which bolster the community’s faith in the University. At this rate, my faith is sharply waning.

    At this time, concerned students, parents, and residents of the Boston community should speak out to ensure that BU and the City are acting appropriately.


  • Rachel on 10.10.2012 at 5:36 pm

    Find my iPhone…? I would think it would be fairly easy to track down cell phones with gps. Is there are reason this hasn’t happened?

    • Student on 10.10.2012 at 11:00 pm

      They apparently disabled the locations services immediately

  • Kathy on 10.10.2012 at 6:21 pm

    It is important to remember this is a college campus regardless of its urban setting. Therefore, it is the responsibility of Boston University to provide a safe environment for its students, staff, and faculty…period. It seems from the many comments that BU needs to make changes to its current level of security because there seems to be a lack of their presence. I realize it is important for students to be proactive in keeping themselves safe. I also realize that there are times when students are by themselves and could be in a vulnerable situation.
    I am concerned that if these issues of security (or lack of it) are left as is, there may be many more problems in the near future. I would sincerely hope that action is taken before this occurs. I would ask that security is increased to protect all members of the Boston University community.

  • cathy on 10.11.2012 at 10:39 am

    Can you say VIDEO webcams ? VIDEO cams on some of the residential and the BU DORMS ?? That’s ALL that will ever hold up in COURT ….

  • cathy on 10.11.2012 at 10:40 am

    Big brother is going to have to watch…..it is the only set of eyes that don’t care what stats you are….you do the crime – you are going to do the time.

  • BostonResident on 10.11.2012 at 11:50 am

    The concern of parents is valid, but at some point your kids should be well aware that they’re living in one of the most densely populated urban areas in the United States. Yes, we all want to have some sense of security but the reality is that as people who don’t contribute tax dollars to the Brookline Police Department, they have to take every situation on a case-by-case basis and determine the priority. Brookline Police is a small (but very competent) department and traditionally doesn’t deal with the same issues that Boston Police handle.

    To ask that Boston Police get involved with issues technically outside its jurisdiction is a lot to ask when there are MUCH more pressing issues happening within its jurisdiction to the permanent residents. This will inevitably become a class issues, as having resources diverted to the privelege few while the more disenfranshised residents are left in the Wild West is unreasonable and unacceptable. Boston Police cannot devote patrols to BU when:
    1. BU has a police department meant to patrol it’s campus but also the surrounds areas
    2. Boston has shootings nearly daily
    3. they leave the communities they’re meant to service underserved.

    College students should be proactive and present when it comes to precautions, rather than distracted and obtuse in relation to their safety whether or not there are robberies.

    Sadly, the only thing that will come of this situation is that the perps will be caught eventually and the students will then be lulled back into a false sense of security, until another person(s) pulls the blanket off.

    • futdashuckup on 11.17.2013 at 3:10 pm

      I live nowhere near the east coast but my buddy is from the area and he told me about it. I’ve realized that there has been a big escalation in the number of assaults and robberies that seem to rule out the suggestions of gang initiations and the like. Some of the assaults across the nation don’t even appear to have motive as the victims are getting beat up by strangers and then the assailants flees without even taking anything! I thought perhaps, an people will roll their eyes saying “not again”, but its probably games like gran theft auto v being released a couple months ago that is driving up these crimes. I mean the perpetrators are only teenagers not hardened criminals but in the game, which I play and enjoy (responsibly) the game encourages u to assault people when u r short on cash or to rob stores and then teaches u how to evade the cops. ..(flee scene of crime, change vehicles, hide in the shadows, etc..) idk I think parents should pay attention to how their kids play these games. If they see their child mowing down pedestrians and having the time of their life then maybe they need to have a chat. I mean I know its just a game but I feel kinda guilty when I run over a pedestrian on accident but I’ve seen friends play the game and they’ll go unload a few clips of an AK on a crowd of people and then try to outrun the cops. I’m no psych major but I do know there’s a rule of diminishing returns. Doing the same thing repeatedly will eventually result in less satisfaction. Like an addiction, people will constantly have to ‘step it up’ to get the same feelings and the game kinda desensitizes u to acts of violence on strangers. If the game stops being as exciting or fun maybe that’s why people resort to doing it in real life. Kind of like how people will start off watching porn and end up having an affair. When people want to make the fantasy real….

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