Four arrested in on-campus theft

Courtney Scrib

Last Sunday at approximately 4:44 a.m., four non-student males were arrested in connection with an armed robbery that occurred on campus and involved a female resident student.

Radnor Police later identified three of the perpetrators as juveniles between the ages of 15 and 17 and one as an as 18-year-old adult. They were charged with conspiracy, robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, criminal trespass, receiving stolen property and disorderly conduct. The adult male was also charged with corruption of minors.

Minutes prior to the arrests, the student and her non-student male friend reported being robbed at knife-point while sitting in a vehicle on Dougherty Drive near Sheehan Hall. According to the Public Safety alert, one suspect entered the victim’s car after asking for directions. Once inside, he placed a knife to the driver and demanded their wallets.

The incident first was reported to Public Safety Sgt. Joseph Baumgart. As the victims were driving towards the end of Dougherty Drive, they spotted Baumgart, who had been assigned on-foot patrol that morning. After gathering information from the victims, Baumgart immediately contacted the Public Safety dispatch. A “flash” information message describing the suspects was sent to all Public Safety officers via radio. Radnor Police were also contacted and arrived within minutes.

“Our department and Radnor Police work closely together,” Associate Director of Public Safety Debra Patch said. “When we contact them, it is expected that they will respond very quickly.”

Several Public Safety officers searched the area and located three male suspects in the East Main Lot. The fourth suspect was found in the parking lot of the Villanova Dry Cleaners on Lancaster Avenue.

According to Patch, one of the benefits of having officers patrol the campus on foot and bicycles is that their presence is less conspicuous. She suspects that the perpetrators deliberately chose an area where there were no Public Safety vehicles in sight.

“The short amount of time it took for this incident to be handled says a lot about our department and the University,” Patch said. “Our officers are out there. They are being proactive and diligent.”

This latest on-campus incident comes just three months after a man fired gunshots near South Campus. However, as Patch explains, both were isolated incidents that could happen anywhere.

Like Patch, students, such as Sullivan Hall resident Joe Bianco, remain confident in Public Safety’s ability to protect students.

“I feel completely safe on campus,” Bianco said. “Public Safety can’t prevent every crime, but the fact that they caught the guy who did this shows that they are at least ready to act if something should happen.”

As a precaution, Public Safety has issued a reminder to the University community to be “security conscious at all times.” Patch strongly encourages students to program the Public Safety emergency number (610-519-4444) into their cell phones.

“The important thing to take away from this incident is the educational message,” Patch said. “Students need to know what the [Public Safety] department does and how they should respond if they are involved in or witness a similar incident.”