Armed robberies at Loyola, Towson, CCBC raise concerns

A recent series of armed robberies on college campuses has Maryland students and security personnel on high alert.

At least five people were held up on three campuses last week — at knife point at Loyola University Maryland and at gunpoint at both Towson University and the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Detective Kevin Brown, a Baltimore Police spokesman, said the incident at Loyola "does not appear to be part of a spree."

Friday about 1:40 a.m., two men obscuring their faces with white and blue bandannas approached two students in a Loyola parking lot near the 100 block of Cold Spring Lane, brandished knives and demanded the couple hand over their "money and jewelry," according to a police report.

The male victim gave the robbers about $10, and his female companion gave up a ring she had been wearing and her cell phone, the report said. The robbers fled afterward.

Brown said the event was isolated and "simply a crime of opportunity." No arrests had been made as of Sunday night, but "detectives are confident in a few leads that are developing," Brown said.

Students said the men robbed another person that night in the Loyola parking lot, this time punching the victim in the face. Loyola spokeswoman Courtney M. Jolley confirmed that a third student was robbed.

"Both Loyola and Baltimore police are increasing patrols in that area," Jolley said.

Hours earlier, on Thursday evening, a man robbed a female CCBC student at gunpoint as she walked to her car, reported WJZ, The Baltimore Sun's media partner.

"The subject placed a hard object in the back of the victim. The victim believed the object to be a gun. The victim then gave the suspect her money and her wallet," Baltimore County Police spokesman Lt. Robert McCullough told WJZ.

The robber got the woman's attention by yelling, "Hey, Tiger," McCullough said; the victim was wearing a Towson Tigers jacket.

CCBC spokeswoman Hope Davis confirmed the incident Sunday night. Online crime records kept by the community college show that three other robberies and one attempted robbery have occurred on the Essex campus during the past three years. This is the first robbery on the Essex campus this semester, Davis said, adding that police have increased their patrols.

Last Monday, Nov. 8, a robbery occurred on the campus of Towson University, spokeswoman Carol Dunsworth confirmed.

According to a crime alert released by the school, a woman unaffiliated with the university attempted to make a deposit at a bank branch on campus when a man ran up behind her "and attempted to pull the bag containing money out of her hand," indicated "that he was armed and voiced a threat." The robber grabbed some of the intended deposit after a brief struggle and fled.

Dunsworth said the incident was under investigation and no other details were available. She was unaware of any similar robberies happening at Towson.

Brown, of the Baltimore police, said students should observe big-city safety precautions.

"Remain aware of your surroundings, walk in groups, stay on main thoroughfares and avoid alleyways … walk purposefully and attempt to stay within well-lighted areas, and, whenever possible, let someone know when to expect you," Brown said.

Baltimore police issued a community advisory with those tips shortly after the Loyola incident.