Search Continues for Robbery Suspects; University Issues Campus-Wide Alert
Three men wanted for suspicion of armed robbery in Princeton Borough and Township are still at-large as both municipal police departments continue investigating one of the most recent in a series of crimes in the area.
The investigations stem from two incidents that occurred within 40 minutes of each other on January 8. The first was when Borough Police responded to a report of armed robbery on Aiken Avenue, near Broadmead and Prospect. According to the 22-year-old male victim, whose name has been withheld, the three men pulled up in their vehicle as the victim was walking and asked him for a cigarette and directions. One of the suspects placed what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun to the victim's back. The gunman then searched the pockets of the pedestrian and removed all belongings.
The victim, after being told to remove his boots, saw the suspect holding what appeared to be a fake gun. The suspect then repeatedly punched the victim in the face and neck and attempted to remove a chain from the victim's neck, police said.
The victim was reportedly treated for injuries and released from the University Medical Center at Princeton.
About 45 minutes later, police said, a similar event occurred in the Township, apparently involving the same men. In the Township incident, the suspects wielded what appeared to be two guns. The victim in the second incident was also ordered to remove his shoes and had his jacket stolen by the suspects.
The incidents have also ignited a campus-wide security alert at Princeton University. Donald Reichling, acting associate director of the University's Office of Public Safety, said the alert was put into motion to advise those on and around campus that the incident occurred and for witnesses to report suspicious activity.
"Basically, it's just an alert for people to be more aware and to keep their eyes and ears open to anything that seems out of the ordinary," he said, adding that he had no evidence that the crimes were campus related.
Safety alerts are required protocol of Public Safety when crime occurs near campus, and not necessarily on campus. "We know we don't live in a capsule," Mr. Reichling said. "If we see something that's nearby that affects the community, we would put out a safety alert."
A Princeton University Public Safety officer did see three suspects on campus prior to the incidents and offered the following descriptions: Black male between 19 and 20 years old, about 5'10, with a thin build; a white male, approximately 19 to 20 years old; and a black male, about 5'11, with a medium build, also 19 to 20 years old.
The suspects were driving a white Buick with dark interior and no hub caps, with partial licence plate number possibly reading "MN," police said. Anyone who has information on the incident or has seen the three men fitting this description is advised to contact Detective Cpl. Art Villaruz of the Township Police Department at (609) 921-2100, ext 816, or Detective Mike Bender or Detective Sgt. Nick Sutter of the Borough Police Department at (609) 924-4141, ext. 120.