April 3, 2008

CUPD, IPD Find Links in Recent Armed Robberies

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Since Spring Break, there has been an increase in criminal activity at Cornell and the surrounding neighborhoods. Last night, a University Crime Alert e-mail sent to the Cornell community reported that two armed robberies that occurred in the last week, but were not immediately reported, seem to be related to each other, as well as a third incident reported in the Crime Alert issued on March 24, near the Chapter House.
Before that incident, which occurred around 11:15 p.m. on the 400 block of Stewart Ave., a non-Cornell student male victim reported he was inside his apartment when two subjects entered the apartment, one armed with a handgun, and robbed him of cash and other items around 11 p.m.
The third episode occurred at a West Campus fraternity on March 29 around 10:30 p.m. Two acquaintances of one of the students in the room, entered reportedly pulled out a handgun and robbed the other occupants, one of whom also attends Cornell, of cash and other items.
The robbery suspects were described similarly in all three incidents, which are now being jointly investigated by the Ithaca Police Department and the Cornell University Police Department.
With the help of the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office, one suspect has been apprehended and a second subject has been identified by the IPD, and s being sought by authorities.
He has been identified as Whitley Taylor, a.k.a. “Cash” and a warrant has been issued for his arrest for robbery in the first degree. Taylor is 36 years old, and is described as a black male, 6 foot 8 inches tall, weighing 312 pounds.
In response to these and other events, CUPD will increase its collaboration with the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department, the IPD and the Cayuga Heights Police Department for the remainder of the spring semester.
This process includes enhanced police patrols, and the use of CUPD public safety auxiliary units to patrol campus. These auxiliary units, whose members are unarmed, will be identified by bright green vests. They are meant to aid the police by spotting and relaying information about suspicious activity.
In the e-mail, CUPD Chief Curt Ostrander stated,“Maintaining the safety of the Cornell community is always our primary concern, and we believe that this increased public-safety visibility will supplement our ongoing efforts. Also, we continue to ask members of our community to help us, and themselves, by taking prudent and necessary safety precautions, such as locking their doors and windows at all times and traveling in groups in well-lighted areas at night.”
Emergencies can be reported by dialing 911 or using Blue Lights or other campus emergency phones, which connect directly to the police. Suspicious activity on the Cornell campus should be reported to Cornell Police by calling 255-1111, and suspicious activity off campus can be reported to the Tompkins County Emergency Dispatch Center at 272-2444, or to the IPD at 272-3245. Additionally, the Blue Light bus service operates daily on campus from 6:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., and the Blue Light escort service, which provides night escorts around the Cornell campus and the closely surrounding area, can be requested by calling 255-7373 or by using a Blue Light phone.