Third Armed Robbery in Two Weeks
Police swarm streets, but suspects flee
Dozens of police from the Boston University Police Department and the Brookline Police Department swarmed an area four blocks from Commonwealth Avenue Friday evening in search of the three armed robbers who took an iPhone, a wallet, and keys from a recent male graduate of the University. The incident was the third armed robbery near the Charles River Campus in two weeks, and it took place at 5:15 p.m. at the corner of St. Paul and Thatcher Street, 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. The suspects in all three robberies brandished a handgun, and are believed to be black males between 16 and 20 years old. The three suspects in the most recent incident are believed to have been wearing a white sweatshirt, a gray sweatshirt, and a red sweatshirt. No one was injured in any of the robberies. BU Police sent a BU Alert to the Boston University community at 5:42 on Friday.
BUPD Lieutenant Taso Giannopoulos says the victim left the scene and ran into his police cruiser just one block away. “I put in the call and literally within a minute there were about a dozen cruisers there from Brookline and BUPD,” Giannopoulos says. While the suspects got away, he says, the police came away with several promising leads about their identity.
Boston University Police had 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. Peter Fiedler (COM’77), vice president for administrative services, says a normal BU patrol would be five officers, but at least eight officers have been patrolling the area. He says the police are using a combination of marked and unmarked vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles.
Despite the increased patrols, many students are uneasy. Kyle Montoya (CGS 13) says he avoids walking on certain streets. “Clearly,” he says, “there is not adequate security off campus.”
Paul Ryan (COM’13) says he feels safe on campus, but not walking through parts of Brookline. “It doesn’t matter the time of day,” says Ryan. “Two of the robberies occurred in broad daylight. I’ve considered carrying something to protect myself if I do find myself in that situation, and I’ve become more alert when walking. I’ve started locking my door when I get home and try to be just more alert in general when walking around. I also no longer take back roads.”
Olivia DeFrances (CAS’16), says she’s not “super-concerned” about the robberies. “I’ve been pretty much behaving the same as usual,” she says. “Alhough I would feel more comfortable walking around in a group, especially later in the day or at night, but that’s something I’ve always practiced.”
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 article failed to mention that the suspects brandished a handgun.