UTA police investigating a rash of recent robberies of cellphones released a surveillance video Thursday that shows two men who match the description of robbers who stole cellphones from women on Oct. 30.
A total of six robberies have been reported since Oct. 22, a university spokeswoman said. Four suspects were arrested after one robbery on Nov. 3. The men in the video are suspects in two other robberies and may have committed others, she said.
The latest robbery was reported Nov. 11 by a woman who said a man walked up behind her in the parking lot near Lipscomb Hall and demanded her wallet, university spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan said. The woman told police that she felt the robber put something against her back.
UTA police sent out a MavAlert text message at 7:30 p.m. about the robbery.
According to police, the other robberies occurred:
These are the two robbers linked to the surveillance video. In the video, the men are leaving the College of Business on the evening of Oct. 30.
UTA police do not know if the robberies are related, Sullivan said. Police have increased patrols, particularly after dark and in parking lots, and are working with Arlington police, she said.
The campus newspaper, The Shorthorn had received 103 comments by Thursday afternoon on its website after publishing a letter to the editor from a concerned student.
“We’ve gotten a pretty immense response, which we are not used to,” Shorthorn editor Natalie Webster said.
The newspaper also created an online poll on Nov. 4. Eighty percent of commenters said they don’t feel safe on campus.
Accounting junior Maira Raza takes all her classes in the College of Business. She said the recent news has causes her to fear for her safety even during the day.
“They could come during the day if they want to and shoot up the campus,” Raza said.
Raza said she has noticed and increase in police vehicles, including those of the Arlington Police Department, but she doesn’t think there are enough safety measures in place.
“I think they are doing a good job telling us, but I don’t think they are doing a good job taking care of it,” her friend Amna Saleemi added.
Saleemi is a biology junior who said she often runs to class from her car at night.
Doug Davis, a senior history and modern languages double major, said he doesn’t fear for his safety because there isn’t much he can do to protect himself either way.
“There’s not much more they [the university] can do. What are they going to put up armed sentry guards?” Davis said.
Can you help?
If you have information about the robberies at UT Arlington, call the campus police criminal investigations unit at 817-272-0496.
Descriptions of robbers
Nov. 8 robber
Black male, 20 to 24, about 5 feet 10, lean build, 150 to 160 pounds with short hair and a goatee. Wearing a light gray hoodie and dark jeans.
Oct. 30 robbers
Two black males. One about 6 feet, medium build with short black hair. Wearing a red hoodie and black athletic shorts. The other about 5 feet to 5 feet 5. Wearing a red T-shirt and white shorts.
Oct. 22 robber
Black male, 18 to 23, about 5 feet 9 with light, scruffy facial hair. Wearing a gray hoodie, black shorts with white stripes and black shoes.
UTA police safety tips
Carry personal belongings in a backpack or similar container so arms and hands are free at all times.
Never leave personal property unsecured or unattended.
Avoid walking alone, especially after dark — walk in well-lighted areas.
Use the Maverick Safety Escort, a free service 7 p.m.-3 a.m. Sunday-Thursday. To request a security escort at any time, call 2-3381 or utilize a call box on campus.
Take a self-defense course and maintain proficiency. Female faculty, staff, and students can learn self-defense through the Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, program. Check out the UTA Police website at uta.edu/police for more information.
Source: UTA Police Department news release