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Three Robberies, One Armed

Concern grows, along with caution


Police from Brookline, Boston, and Boston University are investigating three separate incidents in which BU students were robbed, one late Friday night and two early Saturday morning, on or near the Charles River Campus. A female BU student and two companions were robbed at gunpoint at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul and Thatcher Streets in Brookline. Boston University Police Captain Robert Molloy says the suspects, who took a tote bag containing an iPhone and keys, are two white males. One is about 6′ 2″, with a large nose, and was wearing a white hoodie and a black jacket. He displayed a black handgun. The second suspect is between 5′ 10″ and 6′, with a thick build, and was wearing a black jacket with a scarf over his face. The victim was not injured. BU Police sent a text message about the incident to the BU community at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Another BU student was robbed of his cell phone in an unarmed incident in the alley adjacent to Shaw’s supermarket at 11:30 Friday night. Molloy says the student was approached by two men, one a white male between 5’ 6” and 5’ 8”, wearing a dark North Face jacket. The second suspect, described as a muscular Asian, allegedly assaulted the student before taking his cell phone. The student was punched, but refused medical treatment.

In a third robbery, a female student sitting on the stairs outside 275 Babcock Street at 1:25 a.m. Saturday was approached by a black male and a black female. Molloy says the man allegedly pushed the student to the ground, opened her purse, and took a cell phone and some money. Both suspects left the scene in a older model sedan.

Molloy says police believe the three robberies are unrelated. Both the BUPD and the Brookline Police are adding additional patrols to the area, he says.

Despite the increased patrols, many students are uneasy. Hannah Klarner (CAS’13, COM’13) says she has become more cautious when she goes out at night. “Boston is a city, and so of course it has crime, but I’ve never felt unsafe on or around BU before,” Klarner says. “I’ve definitely changed my habits too. I take the bus or cabs instead of walking, and my friends refuse to let me walk home anymore.”

Alexis Peters (CAS’13) says that last fall’s robberies made her more aware of her surroundings when she walked alone at night. But now, she says, “I actually feel unsafe walking around my neighborhood even with people. It just seems like everything’s happening a lot more frequently and more severely.”

Allston resident David Mayberg (CGS’13) says that residents in his neighborhood always use caution because the area “has been known as an unsafe neighborhood for many years.” However, since BUPD “doubled the amount of cops” in the Allston area in an effort to monitor parties and curb underage drinking this past weekend, he wonders if it left the rest of campus “not so safe.”

That was a concern echoed by Poorva Bhade (CAS’13). “I think kids are just tired and they really want to feel safe,” says Bhade. “Although we are in a city, this shouldn’t be happening to such a huge college campus. BU Police mixed with BPD mixed with Brookline PD should be taking care of this.”

Molloy 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 reported that one robbery victim suffered minor injuries. That student was punched, but refused medical treatment.

Art Jahnke

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

33 Comments on Three Robberies, One Armed

  • disapointted on 01.19.2013 at 10:36 am

    On the one night BU steps up its “party” patrol, a serious crime happens.
    Great work BU, you managed to care more about a little drinking then an entire string of robberies!

    • Jan on 01.19.2013 at 12:18 pm

      I agree. It’s pretty moronic to advertise on a widely read website that you will be pouring all your resources into one small concentrated area. You essentially invited the robbers because they knew all of the patrols would be hard at work insuring nobody drank and thus nobody was protected. Shame on you BUPD.

      • Dan on 01.19.2013 at 3:09 pm

        I’m sure these robbers were quite intelligent and all (sarcasm) but I don’t think they were monitoring BU Today articles to find out where the BUPD would be…

    • Matt on 01.19.2013 at 4:15 pm

      I agree that they may be focussing on “party busting” a bit too heavily, but why are you not criticizing Brookline PD, or Boston PD. Its not the police to blame. People need to work harder not make themselves a target of robbery, sexual assault or any other crime.

      • Anthony on 01.22.2013 at 11:30 am

        But, the robberies were on campus, one was directly out a dorm, in the middle of West campus. I understand people should not go into seedy neighborhoods in downtown boston by themselves, but students should at least feel save enough mere feet outside dorm buildings. Students’ safey on campus should be the main priority.

  • BU Parent on 01.19.2013 at 11:10 am

    Here we go again! This happened last fall now it is happening again. Why does the BUPD only step party patrols or when there are robberies the patrols should be stepped up at all times!

    • Grad Student on 01.22.2013 at 8:34 am

      I love these fake “parent” messages. I think they’re my favorite.

    • Steve B on 01.22.2013 at 10:49 am

      Hey! How come you ain’t got no good English?

  • Concerned on 01.19.2013 at 11:37 am

    Way to go BU. Party patrol was doubled last night yet I had a friend from west visiting me at warren towers after the game last night and when she called the BU escort security service at 2:30 a.m. to escort her back to west there was no answer. After asking security at warren what to do, the only advice given to us was to keep calling.We tried calling 9 times. No response. Fortunately we had the extra space to allow her to spend the night. Your priority should be to protect your great and for the most part, law abiding students instead of trying to “catch” or “slap on the wrist” good kids that occasionally drink on the weekends. You’d rather arrest us than protect us. Shame on you.

    • Escort security service on 01.22.2013 at 12:39 pm

      The escort security service ends at 2am. That’s why there wasn’t a response at 2:30. If you wanted to go home at that time, I would suggest taking the BU bus as that runs until the early morning.

  • Unbelievable on 01.19.2013 at 11:45 am

    Did BUPD not feel that the two physical assaults/ robberies that were closest to campus weren’t important enough to warn students about because there was no handgun involved? They use BU Alert to inform us of an already contained chemical spill and closed traffic due to a manhole explosion (with about six texts/calls/emails), but they don’t immediately inform students of this.

    Also, the one incident we were informed about wasn’t until two hours after it happened. Talk about unhelpful.

  • Disgusted on 01.19.2013 at 11:47 am

    The president of our school makes roughly one million dollars a year, yet the administration refuses to extend BUS coverage to off-campus locations. In the last year or so, there have been tragic deaths, stabbings, hit and runs, rapes, armed robberies, assaults, and other crimes. Almost every single victim was in the process of walking to or from an off campus apartment. If BUS coverage was extended to major BU off campus areas, such as the crime ridden GAP, Dexter Park, Packards Corner, and Coolidge Corner, these tragedies would never happen. How many people need to be hurt for the President to finally care? Or, will he ever care? I’d bet you thousands that if you took away his salary until he fixed all these crimes, we’d have a pristine and crime free campus in a matter of hours.

    Also, it’s important to note two other issues. One, as has already been pointed out, a new “push for alcohol patrols” began yesterday, which could have easily prompted this. I know of tons of parties that weren’t busted yesterday, yet know I shamefully admit my campus is no longer safe.

    The second issue is the fact that these students would not even be going off campus if BU wasn’t so ridiculously strict with alcohol and marijuana infractions on campus. People have been saying that if you boost controls and enforcement, people will be going farther to find parties. That phenomenon is exactly what’s happening. People are stretching far into the deep pockets of Allston to find parties.

    So, how long will it take before President Brown and Captain Molloy stop enforcing laws on the students and start protecting them from more hazardous problems. Armed robberies are a lot more dangerous than a game of pong, or a joint of weed.

    • Ashley on 01.22.2013 at 12:06 pm

      I agree about most of what you said, but I don’t think they should loosen up about on campus partying. People live on campus, I don’t think it’s fair to stick students in a party environment if they’re uncomfortable with it. I think weed and alcohol are fine, but when I lived on campus I didn’t want to be kept awake by beer pong.

  • Another BU parent on 01.19.2013 at 11:55 am

    Completely agree with “Concerned” above. I cannot believe that there were not enough escorts. BU needs to at least step up this program, perhaps hiring students. Although I do feel that some policing is needed for the out of control parties, certainly NOT at the expense of the much more pressing and alarming security issues arising on the Charles River campus and surrounding neigborhoods. The partying students are making their own choices regarding safety. The kids just living their lives on campus are not doing anything risky. THIS MUST BE A PRIORITY.

    • ME on 01.22.2013 at 4:02 pm

      The BU Escort Service uses student escorts. It is one of the best-paying student jobs at BU. It is run out of the Dean of Students office, not out of the BUPD. The BUS runs well into the early morning hours and doesn’t cost anything to ride. These crimes are terrible, and while ideally every member of the community ought to be able to walk anywhere at any any time of the day or night , whether alone or in a group, this is the city and it changes through the day and night. I am a parent and I am an employee and I have been here almost 30 years. I would never suggest that walking around (or sitting by myself) after 1 AM is guaranteed to be safe.

  • BUsted on 01.19.2013 at 1:11 pm

    At just about the exact time that the armed robbery occurred, my house was being broken into by police, and two of my good friends were arrested for disturbing the peace and an alcohol violation.

  • Anonymous Parent on 01.19.2013 at 1:38 pm

    My student can take care of herself at a party. She knows her limits, knows to stick with friends, knows when a party is getting out of control and that she should leave with friends. What she needs is a safe and patrolled area to come and go from campus. This should be standard. Not something special done when there is a spike in incidents. This situation needs to be addressed in the same manner as the BU Hockey situation. We, as parents, need to know ASAP that these problems are being addressed. It was bad last semester with the robberies and assaults and it is starting again this semester. I call on President Brown and Dean Elmore to address this problem sooner rather than later.

  • Really? on 01.19.2013 at 2:32 pm

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame BUPD. They do the best they can given the resources they get/have. The problem lies with opportunistic thieves given opportunities by all the young, immature, drunk, college kids. These types of things don’t happen when all the kids are in town. Blame the students – they’re the ones providing the opportunities for the thieves.

    BUPD’s priority cannot be to hold the hands of each and every college kid who wants to get drunk.

    • Ignorance on 01.21.2013 at 1:22 pm

      But none of the three students who were robbed and assaulted were drunk, but were simply outside. So you may want to rethink your argument.

  • Anon on 01.19.2013 at 3:28 pm

    Meanwhile Deval Patrick is trying to make it even harder for people to protect themselves

  • SMG Student on 01.19.2013 at 5:02 pm

    Despite what everyone is saying it seems that these are opportunistic crimes after BU was shown to be an easy target with the last group of robberies.

    BU needs to cut it out with the party patrols. Not because they invite crime but because they create distrust between the BUPD and the students. They are working for us and should be there to protect us more.

    • AP on 01.22.2013 at 10:48 am

      I’m an alum and a resident of the area, and I think some of the responses to these crimes is part of the reason they continue.

      Anyone from inside the BU community knows that it’s a diverse, mostly mature group of students from many different countries, states, backgrounds, and incomes. But people outside the BU community view BU students (and BC and Northeastern) students as naive, rich white suburban kids, and outsiders. The way we laugh at “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” and shows like that is the way the area residents view local college students. Rich kids with no street smarts- who it’s easy to steal from, and whose parents will just go buy them another iPhone 5.

      Most BU students don’t fit this stereotype at all- overwhelmingly, they’re hard-working people who work for everything they have and are thankful for what they are given. But unfortunately, when you live in an area where crime happens, you need to be aware of how the criminals are viewing you- and criminals view college students as sitting ducks with easy-to-steal bling. Be sure that isn’t the image you are projecting when you’re walking around campus and Boston.

  • KT on 01.19.2013 at 5:57 pm

    Damn straight they’re adding additional patrols. I have no idea why BU police are more threatened by 18-yeat-old kids drinking Keystone through a purple bendy straw off-campus than they are by a bunch of guys/gals robbing people at gunpoint ON campus.

  • Joke on 01.20.2013 at 1:53 am

    This is a complete joke. BUPD will be posted up on St. Paul St for the next week and then everyone will move on until it’s clear that BUPD won’t be around and Brookline will spend more money paying cops to patrol the parking details of Trader Joes instead of putting them elsewhere at night (or turning on street lights). Then someone will get mugged again and we’ll be back at square one. The school poured in $$$$ to call in half of Boston Fire Dept. for a joke of a chemical spill and people are still getting held at gunpoint 2 blocks from campus? Let’s get some priorities straight here. I’m glad that BU Alert took 10 minutes to find out about some over dramatized, innocuous event in Kenmore and almost three hours about a mugging.

    • ME on 01.22.2013 at 4:06 pm

      FYI, the BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT called in “half of Boston Fire Dept.” not BU. It is their protocol when there is a reported chemical spill…which there was. BU doesn’t pay the BFD when they respond.

  • Priorities on 01.20.2013 at 2:34 am

    It’s obvious that BU needs to hire more police officers to patrol the student housing areas at night. I think it’s a joke that after the string of robberies that BUPD still does not have its priorities straight. BU needs to realize that it’s campus is in the middle of a city and needs to take the necessary precautions. How many crimes have to occur in the West Campus and side streets of Comm Ave before they figure out that that’s where they need to patrol

  • Grad Student on 01.22.2013 at 8:17 am

    I love how every comment here is by underage kids who just want to get drunk. No concern for the victims of the robberies at all.

  • also concerned on 01.22.2013 at 8:58 am

    I walk in the area around St. Paul and Thatcher a great deal. I find it hard to believe that BU and Brookline doesn’t light the area better after the large number of incidents in this area. It seems like a really easy solution for an area that has been hit hard by robberies. I know that this won’t stop people who have guns, but I personally would feel much safer.

  • Jack on 01.22.2013 at 9:22 am

    Ive read some people talk about the GAP neighborhood. What is that?

    • bustudent on 01.22.2013 at 12:45 pm

      It refers to the areas around Gardner, Ashford, and Pratt St. in Allston.

  • BU parent on 01.22.2013 at 10:44 am

    Hey Grad Student this a real parent commenting. I have a son that goes to BU!

  • Might Have Been A Student on 01.22.2013 at 10:22 pm

    After reading this article, all the comments and reviewing recent crime history in the area, I am advising my daughter to longer consider BU as an option for college. There are plenty of good schools to choose from where we won’t need to be as concerned for her safety.

    • BU Alum on 01.23.2013 at 2:42 pm

      So you’re going to recommend against going to college in cities and/or campuses that have ever experienced crime?

      Follow-up: anyone who’s ever attended a *rural* school (such as UConn, UTexas, KSU, etc.) will attest that there is even *more* partying there than at city campuses because of how remote they are.

      In other words, if you want to avoid crime and tensions over alcohol, you may as well forbid her from attending any colleges and stick to DeVry.

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