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Police Station 40th and Chestnut

A “strong-arm” robbery prompted a UPenn Alert on Thursday afternoon.

The alert was sent out at 4:01 p.m. after a robbery occurred at 36th and Chestnut streets — the site of the Sheraton Philadelphia University City Hotel. The alert identified “increased police activity in the area.”

In the minutes after the alert was sent out, passersby in the area did not notice any uptick in police presence. Various individuals that were interviewed inside and outside of the hotel denied seeing any police cars or evidence that a robbery had taken place.

The alert described the two suspects as black males — one of them in their 20s, the other one in their 30s — with dark complexions and short hair. The younger suspect is 5'10" with a medium build. The older suspect has a thin build, and was seen wearing a dark hat, with a white v-neck T-shirt and jeans. The suspects were last seen heading southbound 36th Street.

An additional alert sent at 4:25 p.m. gave an “all clear” message and said police would still be patrolling the area.

The Division of Public Safety said on Thursday afternoon that the robbery was being investigated.

This incident is one of at least eight robberies near campus during the spring semester. From Feb. 7-15, there were six robberies in the area. While the cases were not explicitly linked, the two cases involving Penn students had a female victim with a similarly-described suspect. On April 20, the TD Bank near campus was robbed in an incident linked to up to 10 other robberies across Philadelphia.

This amount of armed robberies near Penn — especially during the colder months — is unusual given past trends, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said earlier this year. 

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