May 7, 2012

Masked, Armed Gunmen Reportedly Rob Student on North Campus

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Two men wearing masks and brandishing a gun robbed a student on North Campus late Monday night, according to Cornell Police. The student was not injured, but the robbers took the student’s iPhone.

The two men ran toward Central Campus, the student told police. The suspects had not been apprehended as of early Tuesday morning, despite a search by the Cornell and Ithaca Police Departments.

The robbery took place at about 11:30 p.m. in the area between Balch and Dickson Halls, according to CUPD Chief Kathy Zoner. The suspects fled through the Balch archway.

The victim described the suspects as large males — both about 6 feet, 3 inches tall and “heavy-set,” according to police radio reports. They were wearing thick, black jackets and masks.

Police described the suspects’ weapon as a black semi-automatic handgun.

According to radio reports, officers were having difficulty communicating with the victim because of a “language barrier.” The investigation continued into the early hours of Tuesday.

“They’re still interviewing the victim to figure out what happened,” Zoner said at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

At about 1:30 a.m., Cornell Police were seen searching the grassy area between Balch and Dickson Halls. Students studying in Balch early Tuesday morning reported that they had not witnessed any unusual activity.

Zoner urged anyone who notices suspicious activity to call 911. She said that people walking across campus should “be extra careful and use the Blue Light Escorts,” which are available by picking up any Blue Light phone on campus.

Zoner said the use of a firearm in a robbery at Cornell was “unusual.”

Monday night was the first armed robbery reported at the University since February. On Feb. 20, two people were robbed at knifepoint a couple blocks from one another on West Campus. The perpetrator displayed a knife, demanded the victims’ wallets, and fled. A grand jury recently indicted Henry Cook, 17, on two felony charges related to the robbery, according to The Ithaca Journal.

In November 2009, a student was robbed and stabbed in the stomach while he was walking near the 300 block of Highland Road on North Campus. The student suffered a “small puncture wound,” police said, and he was treated and released from Cayuga Medical Center. His backpack and a laptop computer were taken.

Manu Rathore contributed to this article.

Original Author: Michael Linhorst