Men robbed at gunpoint

By Yesenia Mojarro

Four men were robbed at gunpoint during four separate instances Friday afternoon on campus.

A 23-year-old Champaign man told police he was walking east on Clark Street at 12:15 p.m. when someone pushed him from behind, implied having a handgun and demanded money and credit cards, police reports said. The man gave his credit and ATM cards as well as an unknown amount of cash to the robber. No further information was available at the time of the report.

One hour and 15 minutes later a 19-year-old Urbana man told police he was robbed in the 800 block of West Oregon Street. The man said he was walking east on Oregon Street at 1:30 p.m. when a robber snuck up from behind, threatened him with a handgun and demanded money. Reports said the robber walked away after the 19-year-old said he didn’t have any money.

Six minutes later, another 19-year-old Urbana man was robbed at Stoughton and Harvey streets, less than a mile from the 800 block of West Oregon Street.

The man told police he was walking west on Stoughton Street when a robber confronted him at the intersection, displayed a handgun and demanded money. The robber apparently became frightened, fled empty-handed and headed north between some buildings nearby.

Not 10 minutes passed before another man was robbed in the 500 block of East White Street. The 25-year-old Champaign man told police the robber had a handgun and threatened to kill him if he didn’t provide some cash, so the man gave him an unknown amount. No further information was available at the time of the report.

Lt. Michael Metzler of the Urbana Police Department said suspect descriptions are similar in three of the larcenies and could be related. Crime prevention coordinator for the University Police added that two people are believed to be involved in at least one of the robberies.

The Champaign and Urbana Police departments are cooperating in the investigation.

What would you do

if you were robbed?

Tony Ortiz, crime prevention coordinator for the University Police, offers advice to students confronted by a robber.

Remain calm – put your personal safety above your possessions.

If the robber displays a handgun, consider it loaded and cooperate with the robber, do as you are told and nothing more.

For example, if the robber requests cash don’t give your credit cards as well.

Note the robber’s physical characteristics. Look for details such as scars, tattoos, missing teeth, eye color, height and clothing.

If you can, look for accomplices.

Note the type of weapon being used.

Don’t chase the robber. It’s better to be a good witness.

Call the police as soon as possible.

Ortiz also offered tips on how to avoid becoming a robbery victim.

Don’t carry a lot of cash, credit cards or identification cards.

Don’t wear flashy jewelry.

Blend in with the crowd.

Note locations of the emergency phones on campus. They can be found at www.dps.uiuc.edu.

Be aware of your surroundings.

Avoid walking alone at night in isolated areas. Take the bus or ride a bicycle instead.

If you are going to walk alone, be sure it’s a well-lit area or heavily traveled path.

Take a self-defense course.