Robbery sparks an up in security
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.