November 19, 2013

Cornell Police: Man Arrested After Trying to Rob Employee at Knifepoint

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Rishawn M. Vieweg, a 25-year-old Ithaca resident, was arrested in connection with an attempted armed robbery in Weill Hall Tuesday, according to Cornell Police.

At approximately 4:53 p.m., Vieweg allegedly attempted to steal cash from a University employee while threatening her with a knife, according to the Cornell University Police Department.

He then allegedly tried to force the employee into an elevator, at which point the employee was able to break free, call for help and escape.

The crime occurred near Synapsis Cafe in Weill Hall, according to a University press release.

A witness called CUPD at 4:53 p.m., while the crime was in progress; the first officer was on the scene by 4:55 p.m., Honan said.

Vieweg was able to escape, but he was captured by CUPD “minutes later,” according to the press release. No injuries were reported during the incident.

Vieweg was arrested on two felony charges, robbery in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and menacing in the second degree, according to David Honan, deputy chief of CUPD.

Vieweg — who is not and has never been a Cornell student, and is not currently affiliated with the University — is pending arraignment in the Ithaca City Court, according to Honan.

The University does not have any immediate plans to ramp up security in light of this incident, Honan said, given that “something like this [is] so unexpected and infrequent at Cornell.”

Honan noted that bystander intervention, as well as a quick response by officers, enabled a “successful” response. “We will be reviewing this incident to see if there are any opportunities for improvement of the physical security of the area, but at first glance, it appears everything worked as planned,” Honan said.