A female student told Cornell Police that she was the victim of a strong-armed robbery committed by three females in a “light-colored van” on Thursday.
As she was walking on the 700 block of University Avenue, the student was asked for directions by the people in the van, according to a police report. While she looked for directions, one of the van’s occupants exited the vehicle, knocked her down and stole her handbag before driving off, the victim told police.
On Sunday night, CUPD Chief Kathy Zoner said that no suspects have been apprehended or identified. The student said two of the suspects were white and one was black.
“At this point we have not arrested anyone, but we are creating a suspect list,” Zoner said. This incident follows on campus this summer.
According to Zoner, CUPD investigates this type of crime by first analyzing victim and witness testimonies before creating a list of suspects and sharing relevant information with other local law enforcement agencies.
Zoner said there is no reason to suspect they are more or less likely to occur over holiday breaks. Traveling alone does increase the risk of being robbed, she said.
“If you are unable to travel [with somebody], then do the best you can to take precautions,” Zoner said.
The robbery follows an assault that occurred on West Campus this summer. On June 5, three individuals in a vehicle yelled racial epithets at one Asian student who was walking on West Avenue. One of the individuals, Viktor Nikulin, 19, then exited the vehicle and attacked the student, who was later treated for injuries at the Cayuga Medical Center.
Nikulin pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in the third degree on Oct. 5. Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson said the D.A.’s office decided to not charge Nikulin with a hate crime after “close consultation” with the victim.