The Department of Public Safety is currently searching for two
people suspected of a recent unarmed robbery in the Church Street
parking structure.

According to DPS reports, the robbery occurred Saturday at
approximately 2:30 a.m. A victim using the carport was approached
by two men who then verbally demanded that the victim “give (them)
what you got,” reports state.

The victim complied and was not injured. The suspects escaped
the scene on foot.

DPS Lt. Jesse Lewit could not say how much was stolen in the
incident. He also could not comment on the victim’s gender or
whether he or she is a student at the University.

No weapon was used or seen during the incident, which is
currently under investigation.

Saturday’s incident marks the first DPS-issued crime alert of
the academic year. Traditionally, crime alerts are used to notify
the public when a detailed description of the perpetrators has been
compiled in the hopes that anyone witnessing part of the crime will
notify the department. They are not issued when the suspect has
been arrested or when the suspect’s description would not aid in
his or her capture.

The alert describes the first of the two suspects as being a 22-
or 23-year-old black male with braids standing 5-feet-11 to six
feet. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a baseball hat
with a skullcap underneath, a multi-colored cotton jacket, blue
jeans and Timberland boots. The second suspect was described as a
black male standing 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-9 with a bald head, large
eyes and facial hair on his chin. He was wearing black baggy
jeans.

In addition to Saturday’s incident, the carport was the location
of two armed robberies in July 2002 and one attempted robbery last
September. And during one weekend last February, six cars were
vandalized, including four with punctured tires and one with two
broken windows.

Lewit acknowledged that the parking structure suffers from a
crime rate higher than other downtown locations. The structure is
one of the few on campus that is unattended and free to the public
after 6 p.m. It often sees much of its activity after dark.

“I think (the relatively high number of crimes) is largely
because it gets a lot of use after hours due to all the businesses
along South University (Avenue) and adjoining streets,” Lewit
said.

He added that DPS officers do regularly patrol the parking
structure, but added that “it’s a matter of being at the right
place at the right time.” In addition to frequent surveillance, the
carport has emergency phones on each level of both stairwells and
another phone along Church Street near the structure’s main
entrance.

Still, the department is currently in the process of reviewing
its security practices for the parking structure, Lewit said.

“We are constantly doing reviews any time there is a pattern of
crime in the area,” he said.

The safety procedures under consideration include making the
parking structure a monitored staff-only lot 24-hours a day, but
Lewit said the department wants to strike a balance between
protecting the structure’s users against crimes and providing
convenient parking to patrons of the downtown area.

Not allowing for after-hour public parking “has its drawbacks,”
Lewit said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.