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Two Arrested in Brookline Stabbing of BU Postdoc

Cameras help police nab alleged assailants

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Brookline Police have arrested two suspects in the robbery and assault of a BU researcher Tuesday night just five blocks from the Charles River Campus. Wallace Vick, 19, of Gaylord Street in Dorchester and Shaqone Cazeau, 20, of Lindsey Street in Boston are charged with armed robbery, armed assault with intent to murder, and assault with a dangerous weapon. Brookline Police say both are being held on bail and will likely be arraigned tomorrow in Brookline District Court.

Vick and Cazeau allegedly assaulted a 38-year-old postdoctoral fellow from the BU Medical Campus at 8:32 p.m. at Pleasant and Browne Streets in Brookline. The researcher was thrown to the ground, stabbed, and robbed of a laptop, a cell phone, and an iPad. He was treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for two superficial stab wounds and released.

Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary says cameras played a key role in the arrests, as did help from an eyewitness who told police the direction the suspects had fled. He says officers reviewed footage from private security cameras in the neighborhood the suspects escaped through. The first big break in the case came Wednesday morning, O’Leary says, when the victim told Brookline Police that charges for an MBTA CharlieCard had been placed on his credit card. Transit Police determined the charges had been made at the Jackson Square T station on the Orange Line. After reviewing security cameras there and locating footage of the two men they believed to be the suspects, Brookline Police contacted Boston school police and probation officers, who made an initial identification. O’Leary says police staked out the suspects’ homes Thursday afternoon and arrested the two men when they left.

Police recovered a knife from the scene of the crime, according to O’Leary, who says that additional evidence had been found by BU students in a nearby alley between Edgemont and Thatcher Streets. He says police were searching the suspects’ homes Thursday night and were hoping to find additional evidence to be presented at Friday’s arraignment.

“Students shouldn’t be walking in fear,” says O’Leary. “But they shouldn’t walk around oblivious to their surroundings either.”

Boston University Police Chief Thomas Robbins says it was great to see the investigation resolved so quickly. “The police work is paying off, and we are going to keep up the intensity,” says Robbins. “I’m glad to see Brookline put this together so fast and take two criminals off the streets.”

The robbery, one of at least eight assaults since September on or near the Charles River Campus, had heightened concerns about safety that have been growing for months. On Wednesday, President Robert A. Brown issued a letter to the BU community expressing his deep concern about the assaults and declaring that the University had “significantly bolstered” BU Police patrols in the area. A BU Today story about the incident drew more than 100 comments from readers, many complaining of the failure of police efforts to stem the violence, despite increased patrols and four arrests.

In October, Brookline Police arrested three suspects in connection with two of four armed robberies. Those arrests came in the immediate wake of a $10,000 reward offered by BU for information leading to the arrest and conviction of one or more of the perpetrators. Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary has said the role of the reward in the arrests was unclear, but that the arrests were influenced by a video of the three suspects that was posted on BU Today and other news outlets. All three suspects now in custody appear in the video, which was recorded by a surveillance camera on October 5.

On January 23, Brookline Police arrested Evan Holmes of Quincy, Mass., in connection with the robbery of a BU student and two companions just after midnight the previous Saturday. Holmes, who was held on $25,000 bail, pleaded not guilty to three counts of armed robbery in Brookline District Court. Brookline Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of his alleged accomplice, Tyler J. Mauritson, also of Quincy. Mauritson is described as a 27-year-old white male, 6’2”, about 195 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. Boston and BU Police are still investigating the two other robberies that occurred the same weekend.

33 Comments
Art Jahnke

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

33 Comments on Two Arrested in Brookline Stabbing of BU Postdoc

  • Phil on 02.01.2013 at 7:10 am

    Nice job BUPD and Brookline PD. Brookline PD are the best, as local police go. Very hard working and diligent.

  • CMK on 02.01.2013 at 8:03 am

    Kudos to the police for making this a priority. Truly impressed that they were caught. We are sitting targets here in North Brookline, and clearly the word is out among criminals. Catching them quickly is the only sure deterrent.

  • Inspector Harry Callahan on 02.01.2013 at 8:09 am

    Not Make my Day but rather Made My Day. Now I hope the postdoc testifies and the court system does the right thing!

  • Dani on 02.01.2013 at 8:21 am

    Glad they made arrests but this doesnt change the fact that brookline needs to reallocate their priorities from writing traffic tickets/failing at directing traffic in coolidge corner to PREVENTING violent crime. Also did BU ever confirm whether they paid the $10,000 reward or not in the previous case? From my recollection the break came when one of the underage (translation: no real punishment just a slap on the wrist) thiefs was convinced by family to turn himself in. I’d take a juvi record that was probably reduced to basically nothing for cooperation in exchange for $10k for my immediate family. I’m not saying BU should hold everyone’s hand walking home and patrol anywhere a student might live, in fact I think theyre more involved than necessary and should be putting pressure on Brookline to use those high taxes for something, I’m just curious what’s happening after their big headline that suspects were found. Because remember, these are allegations not verdicts. This area is still being targeted, so I can’t help but think the punishment isn’t outweighing the benefits of these crimes.

    • alum on 02.01.2013 at 3:41 pm

      Actually, a previous BU Today article stated that the defendants in the case you mention will be tried as adults, so no, not just a slap on the wrist.

  • Gabi on 02.01.2013 at 8:49 am

    This is fantastic, great police work. However your tone is definitely off: “drew more than 100 comments from readers, many complaining of the failure of police efforts to stem the violence, despite increased patrols and four arrests.” As students we have the right to complain for our safety, especially since BU puts students living off-campus at a great disadvantage, only providing things such as the security escort service for on-campus walks. Yet, all the robberies occurred off-campus, even though they were still very close to campus, and the escort service didn’t change anything. Also, I live in the area, and I have not yet seen ONE BU police car patrolling the neighborhood. If there’s such an increase in patrolling you’d think I would have seen at least one by now, but no. So I ask, where is this so called increase effort from BU’s part? Saying is one thing, the students want evidence of action.

    • Mack on 02.01.2013 at 11:41 am

      1. BU guarantees housing all 4 years, which a lot of colleges don’t do, so by living off campus you’re technically putting yourself at a disadvantage.
      2. I’ve seen both BUPD and brookline PD cars around these neighborhoods, so if you haven’t, maybe it’s because you’re too busy staring at your iphone? (sorry I couldn’t help it).

      3. Well done to Brookline and BUPD, this was excellent police work at an incredible pace! Keep it up!! I’m glad most of the comments on here are positive.

      • Grad on 02.01.2013 at 12:20 pm

        BU doesn’t guarantee housing for graduate students, which the most recent victim was.

        • ME on 02.01.2013 at 5:00 pm

          No, but University housing is available for graduate students.

          • Steve on 02.02.2013 at 12:48 am

            there is virtually none for grad students.

      • Anonymous on 02.01.2013 at 4:47 pm

        BU may guarantee housing all 4 years, but not everyone can afford on campus housing. Living off campus has the advantage of cheaper cost, but it is slightly less safe

        • hi on 02.01.2013 at 5:57 pm

          True…not everyone can afford the $15,000 to live in student village apartments!

          • Alumnus on 02.04.2013 at 10:51 am

            Times are tough and not everyone can afford the education at a top private institution like BU. If you can’t afford the education in a way that allows you to be safe, you should consider going to a more affordable school.
            I strongly recommend you factor in safety and not just tuition when mapping your education costs. How much is your safety worth? If you are willing to risk your safety for a few thousand dollars, why should the university be liable?

    • Puzzled on 02.01.2013 at 11:49 am

      Why not live on campus?

      • NM on 02.01.2013 at 12:09 pm

        People choose to live off-campus (at least the students that I know) because BU housing is extremely expensive. Students who are already paying tuition and fees don’t want to shell out another 20k (including food) to live in a dilapidated dorm room infested with mice and cockroaches.

        • WorkSmarter on 02.01.2013 at 4:02 pm

          HAHA

          1. No On-Campus Housing option costs 20K. Housing starts at 8K. Off-campus housing can quickly cost greater than 10K when you factor in realtor fees, rent, electricity, cable, internet..All things included in the BU housing cost.

          2. Which dorm locations are infested with mice and cockroaches? I promise you that an equal or greater percentage of the off-campus buildings are also affected by bugs and rodents. And when you live off campus you run the risk of renting from a slumlord and you may not have a responsive housing office to respond to complaints.

          • Anonymous on 02.01.2013 at 4:57 pm

            Both of you are exaggerating the costs of housing. Yes, some residences on campus cost 8K ($8,600 to be precise) but those are dorm style residences and require a dining plan. All dining plans cost anywhere between $4,590 and $4,870, bringing your original 8K up to over 13K. If you live in an apartment on campus you do not need to purchase a dining plan, and the cheapest apartments are around 11K. The only way that living on campus at BU would cost 20K you would have to live in a Student Village single apartment (14,490) and purchase a regular meal plan (4,590). That being said, I do not know anyone who would live in an apartment and buy a full meal plan, but paying 20K for housing IS possible

    • AP on 02.01.2013 at 11:54 am

      Expanding the Escort Security Service wouldn’t have prevented this crime. The victim in this case was a male postdoc in his 30s returning home from work. Do you know many 30 year old men who call up and ask two college students to escort them home at night?

      And frankly, the Escort Security Service is a group of college students in matching T-shirts. They are not armed security guards. They would not be able to deter or fend off an armed robber.

  • Jack on 02.01.2013 at 8:51 am

    Before all y’all criticize the lack of patrols, j wanna say that the pd is doing a fine job catching these thugs

  • Marie on 02.01.2013 at 10:05 am

    Hats off to the police officers.Thanks a lot for resolving this so quickly!

  • NY mom on 02.01.2013 at 10:17 am

    I am delighted that these robbers were caught so quickly, and I congratulate the Brookline, Boston and BU police. However, I would still like to see a very visible police presence in the neighborhood where these attacks have occurred. It seems that this neighborhood has been identified by predators as a good place to hunt – a place filled with college kids that can by robbed of their electronic gear with little trouble. I would hope that these quick arrests will discourage others, but I also believe it will require the visible presence of police to make this area less attractive to thieves and robbers. So I’d like to say to the police, “Keep up the good work, and please keep patrolling the streets!”

    • Nathan on 02.01.2013 at 11:56 am

      Not every city can (or should) have 40,000 uniformed police officers on the street. NYPD has about 41 officers per 10,000, Boston 32 officers per 10,000, Brookline(140) 26 per 10,000 and BUPD(50) about 20 per 10,000 (on campus residences)

      20 per 10,000 is about the same as cities such as Louisville,Kentucky and Long Beach, California. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/law-enforcement-police-department-employee-totals-for-cities.html

      In this case, it was the NON-uniformed detectives, MBTA surveilance footage and a helpful victim that solved the case, rather than a uniformed patrol car that ‘just happened’ to prevent the assault and robbery.

  • Mike on 02.01.2013 at 11:34 am

    Only thing I think the cops could do better is putting out the word to these
    “people” that you commit a crime, they WILL hunt you down and WILL find you and
    WILL prosecute you.

    Enjoy prison boys :)

    Good job Cops !

  • Khoi Nguyen on 02.01.2013 at 11:34 am

    Very nice job to the police dept for resolving issue very quickly; the main concern of potential crime is still there. I believe the school as well as the local Police dept should not just increase patrol, but install necessary prevention to deter crime(s).

  • Danny Hayes on 02.01.2013 at 12:08 pm

    I think that one of the glaring issues that no one seems to be talking about is the glaring and unaddressed inequality in cities like Boston and in the US in general. I’m not excusing these two STABBING someone for a cell phone, but I do think it’s telling that they took the guy’s credit card and went, not to a fancy restaurant or a liquour store, but to buy an MBTA pass! I wonder if this is just the kind of thing we’re going to see more and more often as inequality continues to grow in this country, completely unchecked? As a BU alum who benefitted greatly from a generous financial aid package, I appreciate the positive impact a quality education can have, but research suggests that a quality education is becoming harder to come by for us have-nots as colleges increase their costs and tighten their purse strings. BU, how wonderful would it be if you took this string of robberies as a chance to explore your role as a private institution in a city where 25.6% of those under the age of 18 and 18.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line?

    • Camille on 02.01.2013 at 3:47 pm

      I agree. I look at these two kids with their barely there peach fuzz mustaches and I wonder what on earth is going on in their lives to provoke them to do such a thing. I have compassion for both the victim and the perps. I’m sure all of their lives have changed because of this incident and not for the better.

    • Jonathan on 02.03.2013 at 5:48 pm

      BU would probably explore its role to help diminish the effects of poverty in the community if parents, students and alum were interested in such a thing. But effective activism is neither cheap nor easy and getting someone to engage who is very likely going to spend 4 years or less in the community seems a very challenging task. But I’d still love to see it happen and wish I had the wherewithal to do it.

  • Adnan Onart on 02.01.2013 at 2:10 pm

    Nice job by the police department. I tend to think that it is better not to describe all the details how the evidences were established leading to the arrests. I don’t know whether criminal types have access to this kind of disclosed information. But sometime I worry we seem to teach them not-to-do next time. Just a concern.,

  • Mo on 02.01.2013 at 3:39 pm

    Great job getting these punks off the street so quickly. Hoping it sends a message to local teens considering targeting BU students that they WILL get caught.

  • Julie on 02.01.2013 at 5:50 pm

    Well done, Brookline Police! Let’s hope this helps stem the flow of recent robberies.

  • sue on 02.01.2013 at 9:33 pm

    Nice to see the police chiefs slap themselves on the back. How about prevention before someone is killed.
    Also good to see the Brookline chief O’Leary blame the victims by saying don’t be obvlivious.
    What an insult to everyone who is victimized. I suppose rape victims are at fault for being Oblivious too. Typical police ignorance

  • Shocked on 02.02.2013 at 10:55 am

    “I’m glad to see Brookline put this together so fast and take two criminals off the streets.”

    Are people guilty until proven innocent now? The word “alleged” should definitely be in there somewhere. This is not a minor, nit-picky criticism; “innocent until proven guilty” is the foundation of our judicial system. The Chief of Police should NOT refer to these two young men as criminals when they have not yet been convicted.

  • Anonymous on 02.02.2013 at 12:56 pm

    Police are great at solving crimes, but not preventing them. I commend Brookline PD for apprehending these perps in a timely manner, but I wish BU and the state of Massachusetts would review policies prohibiting licensed individuals from carrying even the simplest of self-defense measures, like pepper spray.

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