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VCU community on alert, six crimes on and near campus

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Within less than one hour apart, Virginia Commonwealth University sent out two text alerts about armed robberies on and near the Monroe Park Campus.

The first text alert said that an armed robbery had just occurred in the 900 block of West Franklin Street on the Monroe Park Campus (at Shafer Court) and to avoid the area.

The second alert came at 8:39 p.m. and said an armed robbery had just happened at Laurel and Cary Streets, near the Monroe Park Campus. This location is near the Gladding Residence Center, and about one block away from Monroe Park.

The crimes happened within a mile of each other.

VCU later sent out two emails that detailed four other robberies and the brandishing of a firearm, crimes which the Richmond Police are also investigating; all that happened roughly within an hour. 

The attempted robberies took place at Grace and Foushee Streets, at approximately 8 p.m., police said.  Then half an hour later there was an attempted robbery at Laurel and Cary Streets.

The brandishing of a firearm took place at First and Grace Streets at approximately 8 p.m..,  VCU police said.

Police describe the suspect as a black male approximately 5’8” wearing a dark grey hoodie and a baseball cap with his face covered. This suspect displayed a firearm. The suspect was wearing pajama pants or cooking pants with chili peppers on them.

Also at 8:30 p.m., there was an attempted armed robbery at Belvidere and Cary Streets.

Police said the victim described the suspect as an 18- to 20-year-old black male wearing a dark grey hoodie. This suspect displayed a handgun.

In total, there were six situations. Police have said they believe some of these events are connected.

Police said that it can be assumed that conditions continue to exist that may pose a threat to members and guests of the community. VCU Police said that they have increased patrols in the area.

The VCU Police asked that students follow a few key reminders:

  • If you find yourself in a similar situation do not resist. Cooperate.In the event of an incident such as this, the information you provide police will help them identify the suspect(s).  Focus on his or her physical characteristics, i.e. clothing description, height and weight, and last known direction of travel.
  • Don’t make any sudden, unexpected moves.If the suspect claims to have a gun, knife, razor or whatever, never try to force the bluff.
  • Never try to apprehend the criminal yourself.  Call the police.
  •  When out walking, trust your instincts about a person or situation and choose safety over courtesy.
  •  If you need help, look for an Emergency Reporting Telephone. You automatically will be connected to the VCU Police Department.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Do not let a cell phone conversation or listening to music distract you when crossing the street or in another situation that calls for your full attention.

VCU provides an Escort Service (828-9255(WALK) during the hours of 5 p.m.-8 a.m..

For additional safety tips from the VCU Police, please see: http://www.vcu.edu/police and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone with information pertaining to this crime can contact the VCU Police Department at (804) 828-1234 or text VCUTIP to 274637 anonymously.

This is a breaking news alert. We will post more information as it becomes available.

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