October 30, 2000

Suspects Captured After Crime Spree

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Ithaca Police have apprehended two suspects after three armed robberies Saturday evening in Collegetown and downtown Ithaca.

All three incidents are believed to be committed by the same two individuals, according to Lt. Vincent P. Monticello.

The suspects have been identified as Ithaca residents. The first, a 15-year-old, was turned over to the custody of the New York State Division for Youth, and the second suspect was identified as 20-year-old Messiah Reed, also known as Messiah Flowers.

Reed was charged with Robbery in the First Degree and remanded to the Tompkins County Jail on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond, according to the report.

The arrests came after string of crimes Saturday night. Ithaca Police received a report Saturday evening at approximately 7:15 p.m. of a 38-year-old Ithaca resident being robbed at knifepoint by two males as he walked on Willow Avenue, according to the IPD. The perpetrators stole the victim’s gloves, watch and an undisclosed amount of cash, leaving the victim unharmed.

Another robbery was reported at approximately 7:50 p.m. to the Cornell Police. A 15-year-old female from Van Etten and a 19-year-old male from Newfield visiting the University were approached by two black male suspects near the bottom of the Cascadilla Gorge along the trail north of the Cornell Performing Arts Center, according to reports from Linda Grace-Kobas, director of Cornell News Service. The robbers displayed a silver handgun and stole an undisclosed sum, leaving the victims unharmed.

Approximately 25 minutes later, the IPD received another report concerning an attempted armed robbery of a 25-year-old Cornell graduate student in the vicinity of the 300 block of East Buffalo Street, according to Monticello. The victim reported having a gun placed against the back of his head and struggling with the suspects before they fled the scene without obtaining any property.

The victim was treated at the Cayuga Medical Center for a possible fractured finger and several lacerations, Monticello said.

Following the third robbery, an Ithaca Police Officer on motor patrol spotted two men matching the description of the suspects. Both subjects were apprehended by Ithaca Police and the gun was also recovered.

The police are in the process of determining whether the armed robbery that occurred on the Trolley footbridge last Monday can be linked to these three incidents, Monticello said.

“Police patrol was increased after the first robbery last week,” Grace-Kobas said.

There will not be any further changes at this time in the numbers of police officers allocated to Collegetown, Monticello said, suggesting that students travel in well-lit areas and be accompanied by a companion when walking on foot.

“When it comes to personal property, you are better off complying than resisting,” he said. “You should know your surroundings … and don’t put yourself in a situation where you may become a victim.”

Some students expressed concerns regarding Saturday night’s robberies.

“The police better upgrade security in the Cornell and Collegetown areas to better protect the temporary residents of Ithaca,” Scott Etess ’01 said.

As of yesterday evening, Cornell Police were intending to send an e-mail to Cornell students to alert them to the robberies, according to an officer in the Cornell Police department.

Cornell Police and Ithaca Police are still investigating the incidents and encourage any witnesses to contact either department.

Archived article by Rachel Pessah