Robbery sparks an up in security

Josh Goldman | Student Life Editors

All was not well on Wednesday at approximately 1:50 a.m. While crossing the Greenway Walkway, the path connecting the bridge over Forest Park Parkway to Melville Avenue, two Washington University students were robbed at gunpoint.

Senior Chris Willcox and a friend had been working at the library when they decided to take a break and meet some friends on the Loop.

As they approached the Greenway Walkway, they noticed someone walking quickly behind them and onto the bridge.

What they did not notice were the lights of the patrol car that usually sits at the bottom of the bridge. Willcox admitted that the car might have been there and he hadn’t noticed, but he was fairly certain that the lights weren’t on.

“I sort of moved out of the way so [the man] could walk by us and he slowed down,” Willcox said.

The man then ordered Willcox and his friend to stop. They slowed, and he ordered them to stop again. By then his gun was drawn.

“He said something like, ‘I’m about to make some music,’” Willcox said. “I felt like I was in a western, you know, ‘DANCE!’”

The robber then ordered the students to give him their money. They obliged, and the man commanded them to show him their empty wallets.

Willcox lost about $15 and his friend lost about $60.

Once he had collected the money, the robber told the students to run. They listened and ran right to the officer stationed outside Olin Library.

More policemen were called and spoke to the victims. University City Police stationed officers at places that they thought the robber might flee to, but they did not catch him.

Even though the robber walked free, Willcox was impressed with the police reaction.

“I was actually surprised, I thought it was pretty good,’ he said. “They were quick and professional and efficient.”

According to Steve Givens, the associate vice chancellor of public sffairs, the University Policy and University City police will be adding patrols just north of campus where the incident happened.

“We’re just trying to increase the presence of security in that area,” Givens said.

Willcox, however, expressed some doubt. “I wonder what those cops are going to actually be doing,” he said. “I wonder what the relationship between this and the newly enacted zero tolerance policy will be and if those cops are really going to be worried about stopping the real criminals that are in those neighborhoods rather than stopping college kids from making any noise at all.”

The robbery has led the University to expand Campus2Home shuttle service hours until sunrise.

Effective yesterday, the shuttle will operate from 7 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. from the Mallinckrodt Center and Brookings Drive stops. This is the second addition to Campus2Home service in the past 48 hours, as the rape of a student south of campus early Monday morning led to the expansion of shuttle service to areas south of campus as well.

Police described the suspect as a black male in his 20s or 30s, approximately 5 feet 9 inches in height and weighing approximately 165 pounds. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was wearing a navy blue hoodie, possibly navy blue sweat pants, and a blue/gray mask covering his nose and mouth.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact University City Police, who can be reached at (314) 505-8652.

  • physics-doc

    Washingtion University students are easy prey. It’s time for the University admin to start screaming to the chief of police in St Louis and put a task force to stop these punks. Juliani did it in NY and it worked

  • A Prisioner of Society

    For those of you who have not realized it, WASHU and UC Police will only react after the fact. They know that STL (including WashU and the surrounding area are unsafe. Look at the news. Officer killed, student nearly beaten to death, aggravated assault, larcency, theft and of course rape. If they are interested in stopping, or at least slowing down hoodlum crime against students, residents and visitors to the area, place young police officers undercover. Have those officers dress like young unaware students walking those areas. I’ll bet you hoodie fish will take the bait. If it were dope or prostitution PD would initiate an undercover sting and get it undercontrol. Unfortunately, until students and the young liberal taxpayers in the area demand something be done, you will always be held a prisioner by your surroundings. The summer is coming, walking at night will not be an option unless you demand that something be immediately done. What the University has told students is that you are the prisioner and they must protect you from society. Remember when your mother drove you from place to place to protect you from the evils of the street. Now sadly WashU has become your mother. Mother says ride the bus if you want to be safe. The said reality is that hoodie fish will just go to a new location in the pond and continue feeding. They will get you before you get on the bus or at your apartment . If you want to clean up the pond you will have to dredge it. (If you don’t believe me look at the related posts.)

  • jds6

    While I am glad that WashU is finally starting to take security a little more seriously, I’m appalled that it has taken a rape and a robbery at gun point. I lived in the WashU owned Rosedale apartments first semester last year. In a 3 month period, my car was broken into or attempted to be broken into 5 times. Of these times, I was in the vehicle while it was happening once, and I was walking to my car when the man was going through my trunk the other time. WashU and StLPD’s response was that I should either buy a new car or move to a different neighborhood, not that they would be providing adequate security measures for students living in the area. This year, my friend who lives in Rosedale has had her car broken into twice outside her apartment. WashU needs to take a more serious stance in protecting the safety of its students.