Campus, Bloom sites of weekend robberies

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October 20, 2009

2:50 AM

An unnamed female student was robbed on the College of William and Mary campus Friday evening, Vice President for Student Affairs Virginia Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 said in an e-mail to the student body yesterday.

The robbery was one of three seemingly unrelated thefts that occurred in and around campus this weekend.

The student was approached by a group of six men in the area between Yates Drive and Gooch Drive. One of the suspects stole her purse.

A second crime occurred two hours later in the Bloom grocery store parking lot two blocks away, according to the Daily Press. A woman was abducted at knifepoint, forced to drive to a nearby location, and was robbed of her personal belongings, money and her vehicle.

The main suspect, an unidentified male, was last seen in the area of Commons Way, off Bypass Rd. and the vehicle was found abandoned on Waller Mill Road.

“Generally, the thefts that occur on the William and Mary campus are most often crimes of opportunity,” Ambler said in an e-mail to The Flat Hat. “In other words, a person’s belongings are stolen when left unattended or unsecured.”

The suspects in the campus robbery were described in the police report as black males wearing black hooded sweatshirts around their heads and black sweatpants. They appeared to be in their early 20s.

“Robberies that involve break-ins are very rare at William and Mary; more flagrant crimes like the one reported this weekend are rarer still,” Ambler said.

According to Ambler’s e-mail, no weapons were involved in the on-campus exchange and the student was unharmed.

“We want the student body to be aware of their surroundings and call police immediately if anything happens,” College spokesman Brian Whitson said. “They should travel with friends or call campus escort to ensure a safe walk or ride.”

The student contacted the William and Mary Police Department directly after the incident.

The police were quick to respond and searched the scene for signs of the suspects. The investigation is still ongoing into this specific crime.

“Whenever incidents are reported on campus, our police respond by immediately going to the scene of the reported crime and assessing the health and safety of the individuals involved,” Ambler said. “Multiple officers are also dispatched, as was the case this weekend, to conduct sweeps of nearby buildings (both inside and outside) searching for suspects. ”

Twenty-three burglaries took place on-campus last year, which is an increase from 21 in 2007.

“Again, our campus is generally a safe place,” Ambler said. “But robberies like the one that happened this weekend remind us that we are not immune to crime. Perhaps because we feel safe at William and Mary most of the time, raising awareness about personal safety is that much more important in the wake of reported crimes.”

A third attempted robbery took place in the same Bloom parking lot the following night.

A woman was waiting in a car parked in front of the grocery store while her husband was inside. A man approached the car from the rear and tried to open the driver’s side door.

When he found that it was locked, he ran away and jumped into the back of what appeared to be a dark-colored van driven by another person.

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