UH beefs up security after armed robbery spree

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by KHOU.com Staff & Vicente Arenas / KHOU 11 NEWS

khou.com

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 21 at 6:10 PM

HOUSTON – A special task force has been formed to investigate a recent armed robbery spree on the University of Houston campus.

Five new officers have also been added to the UH police force after three armed robberies in less than a week.

Still, students are worried.

"I’m always looking around constantly," said Sandra Rajan. "I have my cell phone out at all times. I’m Just really extra paranoid now."

"Everybody’s talking about it. It’s the buzz around campus," said another student.

Police said the latest robbery was reported just before 9 p.m. Thursday at the Bayou Oaks Apartments.

A student said he was approached by an armed man who demanded cash and valuables. When the student said he didn’t have anything on him, a struggle ensued. The suspect punched the victim in the jaw, but eventually gave up and ran away.

The victim described the robber as a tall, thin black man with short dreadlocks, believed to be around 20 years old.

Albert Huang was stunned to learn his friend had been robbed.

"I just kinda went blank. I didn’t know what to think," Huang said.

Another robbery occurred Wednesday around 3:30 p.m. in UH parking lot 9C, according to investigators. The victim told police he was putting his backpack in his car when he felt someone grab him.

"I was like, ‘Oh, it’s someone I know, a friend, trying sneak up on me or something,’" the student told The Daily Cougar. "I turned around and I was like, ‘Who is this man?’"

The robber pointed a gun at his stomach and took his wallet, iPod and phone.

The suspect got back into a dark-colored car with another man inside.

"I was just standing there thinking, ‘Well, that could have been a lot worse. Man that stinks,’" he told The Cougar.

The victim later discovered the suspects had used his debit card to get $600.

He told police the robber was average height with short dreadlocks.

The first robbery was reported Sunday afternoon when a student was robbed while walking down Holman Street near Scott Street, according to the Daily Cougar. In that case, two suspects drove up to the victim in a dark four-door car and demanded his property at gunpoint.

"He handled it the best he could," UHDPS Chief of Staff Lt. Bret Collier told the Daily Cougar."He gave the men his wallet and his cell phone."

The student was not injured, and the suspects fled eastbound on Holman toward Cullen Boulevard.

"We have a couple leads. Unfortunately, I can’t give away any specifics, but we’re making good headway," Collier said.

Police are looking into whether the cases are connected.

Students have been warned to travel in pairs and be aware of the locations of red colored police call boxes indicated by blue lights throughout the campus.

"It really makes me feel unsafe at night because I have night classes," said Miriam Okafor. "I work during the day."

The university sent a video to students Friday afternoon to let them know they are beefing up security.

 

The Daily Cougar contributed to this report

 

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