Series of armed robberies near campus sparks local concern

Sunday, February 5, 2017 - 6:09pm

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Jeremy Mitnick/Daily

 

An LSA freshman who requested to remain anonymous was held up when walking back to South Quad Residence Hall from a fraternity party Friday night — he could have called an Uber, but instead, he decided to set out on foot. During the walk back, a car pulled up next to him and an occupant of the car demanded his property.  

This incident has occurred amidst a series of similar robberies near campus in the past few weeks, something the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security and the Ann Arbor Police Department said they are still trying to combat.

“(I was) on East (University) and a car pulled up,” the victim said. “I didn’t think anything of it just because I thought it was like a normal car parking and then a guy jumped out. He had a longer gun, like possibly a shotgun kind of thing. He was like, ‘Hold up. Don’t say anything.’ ”

The robber, wearing a red bandana, proceeded to take the victim’s wallet and cell phone, and then drove off in his what a police report would later describe as a gray, four-door car. The victim walked back to South Quad, borrowed his roommate’s phone and called the police.

This is one of four robberies in downtown Ann Arbor in the past 10 days, according to AAPD Detective Lieutenant Matthew Lige. Friday night’s incident was followed by a robbery on Saturday night and two armed robberies on Jan. 25.

Lige said the consistent pattern of the crimes should be worrisome to students.

“They have all occurred downtown near campus,” Lige said. “They all involve a U of M student. They all involve a student walking by himself or herself and in each case, a firearm has been produced with robbery being the motive.”

He also said all the robberies have taken place on side streets and areas of the city that are not well lit.

LSA junior Caroline Hurd said she lives in the area where the recent robberies have taken place. She plays club hockey at the University and often gets home late at night from practice. In light of the recent crimes, Hurd said she is now scared on her way home after practice.

“I’m pretty alarmed about it,” Hurd said. “I previously felt pretty safe living in a neighborhood that is so close to campus. I personally live right near East Quad, but with the recent armed robberies, I feel pretty unsafe being outside at night.”

In response to the series of robberies, Lige said AAPD is cooperating in full with DPSS on the cases. He also said the two forces are doing everything they can to track down the criminals and put this case to bed.

“This is obviously a priority investigation not only for the city police but also the University police,” Lige said. “We’ve been working with their detective bureau and their officers since we got the first two reports and now we’re even working with greater coordination than we had been because now we’ve got a total of four.”

The victim said he regretted not calling a cab and walking by himself.

“People should try and stay in groups or Uber home because this is an alarming trend,” he said.

Lige echoed the victim and said no physical possessions you own are worth risking your life over.

“If any student or member of the community is accosted in a way that we are seeing with these four, your backpack, your cell phone, your laptop is not worth you facing injury in any form or shape,” Lige said. “Those items can be recovered, they can be replaced, but obviously your well-being and your physical health cannot be.”