Before students and staff flocked Main Campus for classes yesterday morning, a popular on-campus breakfast stop was robbed of approximately $250.
Bagel Hut owner Joann Ciallella said she was preparing to open her store shortly before 6:30 a.m. when a man came around the back of the hut, where the only entrance is located.
“‘I’m here to rob you,’” she recalled him repeatedly saying after she told him that her store wasn’t open yet.
Ciallella said the front gate for the hut, on Montgomery Avenue, between Broad and 13th streets, was still closed, but the side and back of the hut were open.
The man told her he had to support his family and that he wasn’t going to hurt her, she said.
Although she never saw a weapon, Ciallella said the man was fumbling in his back pocket, as if to imply he was carrying one.
“I was nervous,” Ciallella said. She said she then opened the drawer and the man stole what police estimated to be about $250.
“I was pretty shaken up,” she said. “I called 911.”
Police were able to capture the man on surveillance videos as he fled the scene.
“We have him running west on Montgomery Avenue towards Broad Street and we followed him down around Oxford,” Charles Leone, deputy director of Campus Safety Services, said. “My guess is he’s either a student or former student who may have some issues, whether it be drugs or other issues why he needs money.”
The man is described as a white male, in his early 30s and approximately 5 foot 10 inches. At the time, he was wearing a black short-sleeve t-shirt, black pants, grey sneakers and a baseball hat.
Following the incident, Ciallella said, she was brought to a police station and scoured through various mugshots, trying to match one to the robber, to no avail.
In the meantime, police are searching for the culprit by talking to community members.
“We’re focusing on the south and west end of campus, where he ran. We believe that’s where he came from when he walked up, so we’re thinking he maybe went somewhere down in that area,” Leone said. “We’re talking to neighbors. I really don’t think he’ll return, but we want to make sure that we have every precaution involved here.”
Ciallella, who has been the owner of the Bagel Hut for approximately four years, said nothing like this has happened before. The previous owners operated the stand for about 18 years, she said.
Angelo Fichera and Becky Kerner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.