Robbery in Southwest Residential area still under active investigation

Suspects from the Sept. 11 robbery in Southwest Residential Area have yet to be identified

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Will Katcher / Daily Collegian

By Jack Underhill, Assistant News Editor

The University of Massachusetts Police Department released an updated Crime Alert on Sept. 30 identifying a possible suspect in the reported robbery that occurred near the Hampden Commons at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 11.

The alert indicates that the robbery remains under active investigation and one of the suspects “is described as being 6’5″ tall, wearing glasses and nondescript earrings. They are wearing a dark shirt with [a] rabbit logo and pink shorts.”

“There is no ongoing danger to the public,” the alert said.

This advisory comes over two weeks after the initial Crime Alert sent on Sep. 12 stating UMPD “received a report of a group of males fighting” and that “responding officers discovered that a male had been assaulted with a bottle and his backpack and other belongings stolen.”

According to UMPD Deputy Chief Ian Cyr, “[UMPD was] relatively certain that the involved individuals entered a parking lot and left the area.”

Junior psychology major Leslie Hernandez lives on-campus in Crampton Hall, near where the crime occurred.

“I think surprised is the word here,” said Hernandez, describing how he feels about the situation.  “Surprised and scared. Cautious for sure is what I am going to be from now on.”

Two photos of a suspect have been released since the robbery occurred over a month ago, but the suspect remains unidentified. University spokesperson Ed Blaguszweski urges the community’s aid in identifying the suspects.

“Anyone with related information, including anonymous tips, are encouraged to share what they may know in the interest of protecting public safety,” Blaguszweski said.

Cyr explained that the incident is taking longer to investigate because “the involved people are not associated with UMass.” The injured person is also not a UMass student.

Following the robbery, Cyr said that UMPD was “able to speak with the person who was injured to learn more about the circumstances that led to the assault, and the physical/clothing descriptions of the other people involved.”

“We utilized [sic] several resources including officers physically patrolling and our camera systems to try and learn where the involved individuals may have gone,” Cyr continued.

The age of the person or reason why they were on campus has not been released.

Although there was no ongoing threat to the public, UMPD was required to issue the Crime Alert under the Clery Act, according to Cyr. The 2021 Annual Security Report released by UMPD outlined the reasons why a Crime Alert may be issued.

“When a potentially dangerous threat to the University community arises, alerts will be issued to notify individuals of the threat in a timely manner. These alerts will also inform the community of any recommended action to be taken,” the report states. “The decision to issue a Crime Alert is made on a case-by-case basis in light of all the factors surrounding an incident”

Cyr said the UMPD did not believe there was on ongoing risk at the time with the information available. “However, the law requires us to provide notice, and we usually receive very good information from our community providing us tips to identify people who may be involved,” he said.

According to Cyr, UMPD only has the jurisdiction to act within the boundaries of the University, but certain agreements or crimes allow for this jurisdiction to expand.

“In this case we have coordinated our investigation with another department and we are receiving cooperation and assistance,” Cyr said.

Jack Underhill can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JackUnderhill16.