Police use campus security cameras to identity suspects

Thirteen days ago University police received a call about an attempted robbery that happened on the 100 block of South Wright Street in Urbana.

It was around 2:45 a.m. on Aug. 17., when a University student walked past a group of four men. The victim said the men surrounded him, struck him from behind and knocked him down to the ground, said Lieutenant Matthew Myrick of the University Police Department.

They then kicked and punched the victim several times. “The suspects tried to get in the victim’s pockets, but they weren’t able to take anything,” said Lt. Myrick. The victim then got up, and the men ran away.

The other two suspects didn’t participate in the robbery but were present, according to the initial press release of the incident from the University Police Department.

So far, one suspect has been arrested for the incident, and there is a warrant out for the arrest of another suspect. Both came about with a little help.

Lt. Myrick said the security cameras around campus were the reason University police identified each suspect. Security camera footage captured video of the suspects at 2:32 a.m. near the corner of Wright and Daniel streets.

“This another case where the cameras on campus were instrumental in identifying the suspects,” said Lt. Myrick. “The attack wasn’t caught on camera, but we reviewed camera footage in the area just looking for a general description.”

Lt. Myrick said they were going through the camera footage when a detective noticed one suspect: Kenichi Townsend. Townsend, 18, was arrested at midnight on Wednesday in connection to the incident and on charges of attempted robbery.

Now, University police have turned their attention to another suspect. Lt. Myrick said an officer also viewed the camera footage and recognized the suspect Arsenio Carter.

Carter is described as a black male, around 25-years-old, approximately 7-foot-1, 245 pounds with black hair and brown eyes and both ears pierced.

“And based on the officers identifications of the suspects we were able to get warrants for both of them, and the warrants were for attempted robbery and aggravated battery,” said Lt. Myrick.

The University Police Department started its security camera project under former police chief Barbara O’Connor in 2008. A mere 13 cameras were installed at the beginning of that project. Now, that number is closer to 1,000, said Lt. Myrick.

“This case would have been much more difficult to solve without the cameras, obviously that expedited the process,” said Lt. Myrick.

The University Police Department is asking anybody who sees Carter to call 9-1-1 immediately or Crime Stoppers at 373-TIPS (8477).

Danielle can be reached at [email protected]