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Second Armed Robbery Adds Police to Streets

Muggers take North Face backpack in broad daylight


A second armed robbery in three days has police from two departments stepping up patrols and combing the streets of Brookline for a trio of black males who allegedly robbed three male BU students at gunpoint in the clear light of day—5 p.m.—on Tuesday.

The Boston University Police Department, which issued a University-wide alert at 5:28 p.m., says the robbery took place at Egmont and St. Paul Streets, just two blocks from Commonwealth Avenue and about eight blocks from the corner of Thorndike Street and Hamilton Road, where two students were robbed early Sunday morning. There were no injuries in either incident.

BUPD Captain Robert Molloy says one of the suspects was wearing a red sweatshirt and another was believed to be wearing a blue sweatshirt. Police believe the suspects ditched the sweatshirts shortly after robbing the students of a North Face backpack; all three suspects fled up Egmont Street to Pleasant Street, toward Commonwealth Avenue.

The suspects were reported to be between 16 and 20 years old, Molloy says, roughly the same ages as the muggers who took an iPhone, an Android cell phone, a wallet, and $50 from two BU students at approximately 3 a.m. on Sunday. It’s too early to tell if the two robberies, both of which involved handguns, were related, he says.

Peter Fiedler, vice president for administrative services, says that BU police will immediately add three more patrols to the area of both crimes, and that Brookline is expected to add patrols as well. A spokesperson for the Brookline Police Department confirms that additional patrols were being put on the streets. Fiedler says a normal BU patrol would be five officers; going forward, at least eight officers will patrol the area. He says the police will use a combination of marked and unmarked vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles.

“We remain very concerned about this recent outbreak of crime,” says Fiedler (COM’77). “We will use all resources available to apprehend the perpetrators.”

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.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore says he is deeply troubled by the crimes. “The Boston University police are working very closely with the Brookline police to make this community as safe as we can make it,” he says. “Any additional vigilance that anyone can use in these times will be very helpful to all of us.”

Elmore (SED’87) encourages all members of the community to let police know immediately if anything looks “even slightly suspicious.”

Students are expressing concerns about the second robbery in three days.

“I wasn’t very alarmed about the first alert because it was in Brookline,” says Lily Cohen (CGS’14). “I don’t really go there very often. But this one was closer to campus. It just reinforces that you shouldn’t walk alone and that you should always make sure that someone knows where you are at all times.”

Alessandra Petrungaro agrees.

“I’m a little more concerned now,” says Petrungaro (CGS’13). “I avoid that area at night. But I’ll definitely be more on guard now.”

Nicole Sauer says she has always been careful never to walk alone off campus late at night. “After this, I’ll make sure I have the BUPD number on my speed dial,” says Sauer (SMG’15). “I never really think about needing it, but I’ll add it now.”

North Face apparel is famously popular among thieves, who often find it easier to remove from people than from store shelves. The Washington Times reported in 2005 that Prince George’s County police arrested five suspects in connection with 17 robberies from individuals wearing North Face jackets.

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.

Art Jahnke

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

21 Comments on Second Armed Robbery Adds Police to Streets

  • Michael on 09.25.2012 at 9:33 pm

    Find my iphone? Also contacting apple could locate the iphone even if its turned off. It would probably lead to the perp

    • Yep on 09.26.2012 at 8:03 am

      Yep, yep… but by now the phone might be already sold to a pawn shop

    • Anonymous on 09.26.2012 at 8:32 am

      As someone who knew one of the students robbed on Saturday night, the iphone had find my iphone but the phone was off and couldn’t be located. So this does not always work.

      • anonymous on 09.27.2012 at 1:28 pm

        Also from someone whose friend had their iPhone stolen last year (at Giga’s), the BUPD couldn’t go into the apartment building where the iPhone was located… so the phone could not be retrieved even when it was located.

  • Really? on 09.26.2012 at 1:12 am

    This is a horribly written article and an equally horrible excuse on behalf of both BU and BUPD. First off, let’s start with BUPD Chief Thomas Robbins advice to text anything suspicious to the anonymous tip line. FALSE, you should NOT pull out your smartphone in a suspicious situation and send an anonymous text message to the police! Rather, you should attempt to remove yourself from the situation/area and give the police a call!

    Next, let’s adress the robbery on Saturday night/early Sunday morning. The robbery on Thordike St is right off of Harvard Ave – what most people consider Allston. In fact, that area is known to be rather seedy by students. The confusing partitioning of Counties in Boston can be misleading without the proper background information.

    In regards to today’s robbery, I’m beyond upset. I’ve been a resident on Egmont St. for two years now. Today, I was sincerely scared to go home and even more concerned about the times my girlfriend comes home from practice at night. Although classified as “Brookline”, Egmont St. is just two blocks, approx 500 feet from Commonwealth Ave. For those who don’t know, you follow St. Paul St., in between Landry’s Bikes and the CVS across from FitRec for two blocks then take a right. This robbery practically occurred on campus in the middle of the day. Obviously criminals don’t feel the slightest bit intimated by the authorities for them to pull off such a bold attack.

    Lastly, the section referring to the popularity of Northface apparel is trivial and unwarranted.

    BU, please make me feel safe. I understand and respect your campaign for safe drinking; however, please better distribute your resources and put a PRIMARY emphasis on keeping students safe from criminal activity and violence. Your campaign against the activities occurring weekly on Frat Row is nobile and necessary; however, let’s get our priorities in check. It’s early in the year. Please get this under control ASAP.

    -Thank you (I mean that sincerely)

  • Jeff Lambe on 09.26.2012 at 6:50 am

    I have a lot of respect for the BUPD, but clearly they can’t be everywhere at once and, in spite of their effrorts, BU students are not safe in their own community.
    I wonder how many more students have to be victimized, harmed, or killed before the University realizes this and pursues different avenues to try and stifle this criminal epidemic.
    The City of Boston allows students to apply for Restricted Firearms Permits, which allow them to legally carry non-lethal defensive weapons, such as mace, but the University’s rules deny students this right by banning these students from carrying these products under threat of suspension (or even expulsion).
    I think its safe to say that BU is unable to guarantee the safety of its students, and undoubtedly students care more about their lives than the rules.
    It’s time for BU to abandon policies which curtail students rights and leave them vulnerable to violent criminals! If Rao had been able to mace his attacker last spring, he could very well still be alive today.

    • BN on 09.26.2012 at 7:59 am

      Using violence against violence just escalates the problem and does not solve it…

      • Anon on 09.26.2012 at 9:38 am

        A dead criminal is a non-violent criminal.

      • Anonymous on 09.26.2012 at 10:28 am

        The current system means that you will always be a victim in this situation. Changing the system would mean that you could choose to be a victim or choose not to be a victim. I don’t know about you, but I choose not to be a victim.

      • Anon on 09.26.2012 at 10:33 pm

        A friend of mine was once confronted by a robber but when he told the robber that he had a gun on him, the robber took off.

    • Kyle on 09.26.2012 at 10:24 am

      This is very true. If you disarm citizens criminal scum knows they are easy targets. Walk around in a tshirt that says “I concealed carry – feeling lucky?” and see how many people harass you.

  • AP on 09.26.2012 at 10:28 am

    While everyone is upset because the victims of crimes have been BU students lately, I think the problem with the crime is being missed completely.

    Including my time as an undergrad, I’ve lived in this area for 9 years now. 5 pm is a “safe” time of day, even in Allston-Brighton-Brookline. It’s the beginning of rush hour. Workers are coming home from work, children returning home from afterschool programs, people of all ages are running errands, walking their dogs, going to the gym, taking their toddlers to the park.

    These crimes are a serious problem to the community that need to be solved by caution and vigilant police reporting and patrols. But hiding inside scared after 5 pm is not a solution nor an option, not for BU students and especially not for the permanent members of the Boston/Brookline communities.

  • Morgan on 09.26.2012 at 12:59 pm

    I’m glad that BU is finally deploying police to make us feel safe rather then the other way around.

    BU should take some time to read the work done by Bridgespan in Tennessee. By bringing police and residents together everyone can become more comfortable and safer. Cops can become a valued part of the community again rather then feared.

    Is underage drinking really a problem? No. Bindge drinking is. But no one is going to call or alert the police knowing the hammer that will be dropped on them and everyone around them. On the other hand I love seeing police around Brookline knowing that they are there to keep us safe rather then make our lives miserable.

  • Joe on 09.26.2012 at 2:02 pm

    Why do so many comments about drinking? The police don’t make the rules they’re just paid to enforce them.

    • METAlum on 09.26.2012 at 5:24 pm

      Because to some the answer to this problem is for BU and BPD to stop busting up student drinking parties and concentrate on real crime. They fail to realize that there are likeky no parties going on at 5 PM. Posters ae grinding their personal axes.

      • Morgan on 09.27.2012 at 10:21 am

        Not true. I have worked in emergency services. If there is a priority, as is there with the BUPD and BPD, then patrol schedules move around that objective. The BPD creates excellent patrol patterns on weekends to disrupt BU parties. They are good at it. Even very well organized and hidden parties now get caught. On the other hand this is where 80% of their effort goes. Patrol patterns are not created for crime suppression.

        One final things that bothers me is the animosity it creates between police and students. Consider this: I am 20, from a country where I can legally drink and moving into employment in the financial field. You can tell me not to drink all you want, but considering the above facts (not to mention I can own a firearm in this country) I considering it ridiculous and feel free to treat myself to a beer occasionally.
        Now I avoid police despite being an otherwise law abiding citizen. If drinking on the weekend I will go to great lengths to avoid them. The price of an encounter is just too high. But this nearly 100% negates the effect of having them on the street. Rather then banging their heads against their wall telling me (collectively the BU population) that I can’t drink is counter productive (I promise you the cops were drinking at 16 when the age was 18). Instead they should be there when I need them. I should have no fear of telling them if a situation is turning ugly or a student drank too much without worrying about reprisal. Make us safer, don’t try and scare us.

  • Susie on 09.26.2012 at 6:14 pm

    I disagree with “Really?” that the details in the story on NorthFace apparel are irrelevant. If I had a NF backpack or jacket, I’d leave it home until these perps are caught!!

  • BB on 09.26.2012 at 7:00 pm

    just my 2 cent, entrapment is the only way to catch them. It can also deter new robbers.

  • Anon on 09.26.2012 at 10:36 pm

    Students should be allowed to carry concealed weapons and mace. University of Utah allows students to carry concealed on campus. Why is it that cities with the most restrictive gun laws have the highest rates of violent crime?

    • Anonymous on 09.27.2012 at 8:22 pm

      Agreed. My right to be secure in my person should not stop at campus.

  • richard senic on 10.01.2012 at 6:23 pm

    8 patrols instead of 5? make more doughnuts thats for sure

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