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UPDATE: Victim in Alleged Armed Robbery at OU Speaks Out

By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove Email

UPDATE 2/20/13
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio University student who was allegedly robbed at gunpoint at an apartment complex last month, that led to campus being shut down for the day, is speaking out.

The crime happened on January 30 when a 25-year-old graduate psychology student told Athens Police that she was robbed of $5 at gunpoint.

The victim wished to remain anonymous, but spoke to WOUB in Athens. She said the man approached her from behind while she was taking trash to the dumpster.

"I turned around and he's there with this gun and just says, 'Get back there,' pointing behind the dumpster. I'm thinking 'This is it. Something terrible is about to happen to me," said the victim.

By 12 p.m., OU officials announced the closure of the university for the remainder of the day. Some students and staff have criticized the decision, but the victim said she thinks it was the right thing to do.

"For all we know, they did prevent someone [from] actually getting injured because no news is good news on that front," the victim said.

As the university begins to enact new safety measures on campus, the student involved in the robbery said she's recovered from the traumatic incident. She said she has two years left before completing her degree and has no plans to move.

"It could have been anywhere," she said. "What are the odds that it would be me again anyway?"

No arrests have been made in the case.



UPDATE 1/30/13 @ 10 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Classes and activities at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio will resume normal schedule Thursday following an armed robbery near campus.

Ohio University President Roderick McDavis decided to cancel classes and close the Athens campus because of an ongoing security situation with an armed fugitive at large in the vicinity of campus.

22,000 students and 2,500 employees were sent home for the day.

The men's home basketball game against Eastern Michigan was canceled Wednesday night.

The robbery was reported about 9:20 a.m.

The woman told police that a man came up to her with a gun in the parking lot of an apartment complex near campus and took five dollars from her.

"I think maybe it was a little excessive since it was only over five dollars," sophomore Olivia Simkins said of classes being canceled. "Everyone has Sandy Hook on the mind. That's what's going through the president's head I'm sure."

"It's understandable why they're doing it because of all the shootings that have been in the news recently,” junior Erica Katz said.

The Ohio University Chief of Police completed his assessment of the situation and said he has no reason to believe there is an ongoing threat to the campus.

When asked at a press conference if he overreacted, McDavis said “I made the decision on the best information available to me at 12 o' clock. If I err, I will always err on the side of safety for our students, faculty and staff."

Police will continue their increased presence for the time being.

The Eastern Michigan game has been rescheduled for February 20 at 7 p.m.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/30/13 @ 4:05 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Ohio University President Roderick McDavis held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss closing campus after a robbery was reported at a parking lot near campus.

The robbery was reported around 9:20 a.m. The woman told police that a man came up to her with a gun and took $5 from her.

Officials say they didn't close campus immediately, because the incident happened off campus. They said it didn't appear the suspect was doing something on campus, just trying to escape and ended up there. They also felt that in such an open area, the suspect would be easily caught.

After two hours of police not being able to catch or identify the suspect, they decided that it would be the best decision to shut down campus for the rest of the day. Just after 12, students and faculty were notified that campus would be shutting down.

22,000 students and 2,500 employees were sent home for the day.

School officials say one of the reasons for the delay was that they felt it was safer to have students and staff indoors, in a location where they could be safe until everyone could have a better understanding of the situation, compared to sending everyone home immediately.

Around 1 p.m., the decision was also made to cancel the men's home basketball game against Eastern Michigan for Wednesday evening.

President McDavis said that this decision was based on "safety first, worry about everything else second." He said he knew that the game would bring more traffic to the area, and he felt this was the best thing to do. The game will be reschedule and they have been speaking with conference leaders and the coaches about another date for the matchup.

School officials say that during the course of the day, they sent out several emails and text messages to people signed up to their system, letting them know what was going on. The first message was sent within a half hour of the crime being reported. They intend to continue to use that system as more information is released.

President McDavis says that students were asked to go back to their dorms or apartments and stay there. He says they will notify students when the situation has cleared.

School officials are meeting with law enforcement early Wednesday evening to discuss a plan for Thursday. As soon as that plan is made, we will update you here on WSAZ.com. President McDavis says if they do open Thursday and the suspect is not caught, they will reopen with great caution and take every precaution to keep students and faculty safe.

There was a lot of talk on social media after the robbery was reported. Students were reportedly tweeting that they were concerned that school wasn't being let out. President McDavis says they were aware of the social media aspect, but had to base their decisions on fact.

When asked if school officials overreacted by closing down campus, President McDavis said, "I made the decision on the best information available to me at 12 o' clock. If I err, I will always err on the side of safety for our students, faculty and staff."

McDavis says this is the first time in his nine years as President of Ohio University that the campus has shut down for anything but severe weather.

We have a crew headed to Athens. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/30/13 @ 2:30 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ & WOUB) -- WOUB at Ohio University reports that Athens City Schools are on lockdown as the search continues for a man who robbed at woman at gunpoint Wednesday.

According to WOUB, Superintendent Carl Martin sent a message to parents saying the school district is not dismissing early. Martin says he is acting under advice from Athens Police, who have told him they do not believe the school district is in any "imminent danger."

The robbery happened around 9:20 Wednesday morning at a parking lot of an apartment complex near campus.

The woman who was robbed says a man came up with her with a handgun and stole $5 from her.

He was reportedly seen around OU's campus, so just after noon, University President Roderick McDavis cancelled classes and closed campus for the rest of the day.

The man is believed to be armed with a semi-automatic handgun.

If you have any information, call OUPD at 740-593-1911.

Classes at OU are expected to resume Thursday.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this story.



UPDATE 1/30/13 @ 12:39 p.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Ohio University is now closed for the day following reports of an armed suspect at large near the campus.

OU Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi tweeted that OU President Roderick McDavis made the decision as a precautionary measure, around noon Wednesday.

Students are asked to return to their dorm rooms or apartments.

The university will re-open Thursday morning.

The search for the armed robbery suspect began around 10 a.m. after robbery was reported at the Station Street Apartments.

A woman told police she was robbed at gunpoint of $5 in the parking lot of the apartments and that the suspect had a semi-automatic handgun.

The incident happened around 9:20 a.m.

The suspect was last seen in the area of Stocker Center and the Oxbow Trail.

Additional law enforcement officers have been brought in to search for the suspect.

If you have any information, call OUPD at 740-593-1911.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



UPDATE 1/30/13 @ 11:35 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Extra staff will be manning the entrances of several buildings at Ohio University after a report of an armed robbery suspect near campus.

The school is not on lockdown, but extra crews will be at Baker University, Bird Arena, Ping Center and the Aquatic Center.

All four buildings are in the general area of where the suspect was seen.

The man is wanted for an armed robbery that happened just before 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Station Street Apartments.

He is believed to have a handgun.

Anyone with information about the suspect, call OUPD at 740-593-1911.



UPDATE 1/30/13 @ 11 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Ohio University Police are still trying to track down an armed man wanted for a robbery.

An alert was sent out to students, faculty, and residents near campus just before 10 a.m. that a man, armed with a gun, was wanted for a robbery at Station Street Apartments.

According to Ohio University Police, he was last seen in the area of Stocker Center and the Oxbow Trail area.

Police say the man is armed with a handgun.

If you have any information, call OUPD at 740-593-1911.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/30/13 @ 10:15 a.m.
ATHENS, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio University Police Department is asking the university community to be on the lookout for an armed man near campus.

They say the man is wanted for an armed robbery at Station Street Apartments just before 10 a.m. Wednesday

In a text message sent to students, police said the man was in the Station Street/Stocker Center area.

Police say this man is armed with a handgun.

If you have any information, call OUPD.


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