EDWARDSVILLE — Police are searching for two men who allegedly robbed a student at gunpoint early Monday morning in a residence hall at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
SIUE police were called after a 20-year-old male student reported being robbed by two young men at about 1 a.m. Monday
According to an electronic alert sent out by SIUE, the men confronted the student in the hallway at building 402 of the Cougar Village student housing complex, which generally houses older students and students with families.
One suspect was described as a black male in his twenties, 6 feet tall with a dark complexion, thin build, wearing a black jacket, stocking cap and carrying a handgun. The second suspect was described as being a black male approximately the same age and build with a lighter complexion, wearing a gray coat and stocking cap.
The student was not injured. Police said the robbers got away with a small amount of cash.
However, police later said that it did not appear to be a random crime of opportunity. "(It) appears that there was a pre-arranged meeting between the victim and the two assailants," a police statement read. "It appears that there is more to the story than was believed, and we are continuing our investigation."
The incident comes a month after a female student was robbed while walking on an SIUE bike path at about 7 p.m. However, this is only the fourth reported robbery in the past four years on campus. SIUE had 12 burglaries, four assaults and three sexual assaults in 2011 -- the most recent year statistics were available. That's a crime rate low enough to put SIUE among the 50 safest colleges in the nation, according to the national publication The Daily Beast.
Students generally report feeling safe on campus. "When I first got here as a freshman, I was worried about being safe," said student Miata Johnson, 22. "Now I feel fine ... maybe because no one I know has been affected."
Nick Scltamachia, 27, said he sometimes wondered whether the "blue boxes" with emergency phones really worked, or whether the response time would be sufficient if someone was in trouble. Charles Delaney, 23, said, "I read that we're one of the safest campuses," he said, "but if I'm walking through the parking lot at night, I'm looking around (to) make sure no one's there."
Carrie Dougherty, 22, said when she lived on campus, she "knew better" than to walk alone on the trail from the main campus center to Cougar Village. The trail is secluded and dark with only one "blue box" phone, she said. "If anything happens, you're stranded," she said.
Likewise, 19-year-old Olivia Morris said she doesn't walk back to her room in Cougar Village by herself at night, especially in the cold. Her friend Myranda Tabb, however, feels more secure walking to Evergreen Hall, which is closer to the central campus and better lit, she said. "I generally feel safe and I walk every day," Tabb said. "But to walk to Cougar Village ... there's no lights."
SIUE police also offer an escort service for students who must get across campus alone, either between buildings or back to a vehicle. Students are encouraged to walk in pairs and use the Madison County Transit bus service, which is free for students on campus and runs between Cougar Village and the main campus area.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2501.