Police looking for suspect in two robberies

An email was sent out to the entire student body describing two incidents off-campus.

Temple Police will add extra patrols and undercover officers to an area where two robberies occurred last week, Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said.

The suspect in both robberies is described as a man between the ages of 30 and 40 and was last seen wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt and blue jeans. Leone said police stopped a man matching this description. The first victim was unable to identify him as the man who took his wallet because he did not get a good look at the suspect, who came from behind during the robbery, Leone added.

The first incident occurred Thursday at 8:35 p.m. on Fontain Street near 17th. The suspect grabbed the victim, a Temple student, and took his wallet before escaping west on Fontain Street, according to an email from Temple Police.

Leone described the incident as “not your typical robbery” because no weapon was used and the victim was not attacked.   

Several hours later, another man was robbed on the same block. Around 2:25 a.m., the victim, who is not affiliated with the university, was approached by the suspect and fought him. After a brief struggle, the suspect put the victim in a headlock and snatched the wallet from his pocket. Again, the suspect fled west on Fontain Street.

The second victim was “extremely uncooperative” and “a little intoxicated,” Leone said.

“It took us a while to get some information from him,” he added.

Leone said the robberies appeared to be random, and he believes the suspect is “probably someone in the area” because both incidents occurred on the same block of Fontain Street.

Police did not send out notifications through the TUalert system, though students received an email Friday afternoon informing them of the robberies and urging them to exercise precaution while walking around campus.

“We are reminding our community to be particularly aware of their surroundings while walking,” the message stated.

The email message reminded students of services like TUr Door, which is a shuttle that transports students from the TECH Center to their homes, and the Walking Escort program, which offers students the option of having a member of Campus Safety Services walk them back to their homes.

No alert was sent out because the robberies did not rise to alert status, Leone said. In addition, Leone said the difficulty in speaking with the second victim hindered the investigation. Nonetheless, police felt the students should know about these two incidents, which are believed to be connected.

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jack.tomczuk@temple.edu or on Twitter @JackTomczuk.

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