A female Penn student was robbed in the 4000 block of Pine Street at around 2:00 p.m. on Sunday with what was discovered to be a BB gun. The student and her friend called 911 at 2:01 p.m.
The suspect was arrested and will be charged with at least two counts of felony robbery. The students described the suspect as a black male, 5’7” to 5’8”, with short hair, scruffy facial hair and a multicolored striped shirt. Penn Police utilized the multi-agency radio network to broadcast this description to surrounding law enforcement agencies.
The apprehension came after Philadelphia Police were dispatched to 49th St. and Chester St. – west and south of 40th and Pine – for a report of another armed robbery. The suspect in this robbery matched the description given earlier by the two female Penn students. At 2:51 p.m., Philadelphia Police located and detained a man at 51st St. and Regent Street matching the description. The two female Penn students were driven to that location where they were able to make a positive identification of the suspect.
A UPennAlert was sent out at 2:32 p.m., and the all-clear was sent out at 3:18 p.m.
Two hours earlier, an unrelated strong-arm robbery occurred at the The Fresh Grocer at 12:01 p.m. An elderly male victim leaving The Fresh Grocer was accosted by another male who attempted to rob him. An AlliedBarton security guard positioned at 40th and Walnut immediately observed the incident and called the PennComm Center while following the suspect at a safe distance. Penn Police responded and apprehended the suspect at 12:10 p.m., nine minutes after the original report.
When asked why a UPenn Alert was not sent out for The Fresh Grocer robbery, the Division of Public Safety stated that “based on the swift apprehension of the suspect as well as other circumstances, we did not send out a UPenn Alert.”
“This was very aberrant behavior,” said Vice President of Public Safety Maureen Rush, “but if we observe any sort of pattern, we will absolutely adjust staffing.”
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