UH warns students about on-campus robbery

University of Houston police are investigating two on-campus robberies in just as many weeks.

February 15, 2011 4:52:09 PM PST
A student was attacked while in a restroom on the campus of the University of Houston. The area on campus where the crime happened was already on police radar.

A warning to students after a young man was robbed by a man with a knife while in the bathroom. The university off Calhoun Road near I-45 is also the home to about 4,000 students who live on campus.

The robbery happened at night on campus. Students were put on alert via email hours are the incident. But still it has students not taking their safety for granted while on the large campus of more than 660 acres.

With their minds focused on their studies, students at University of Houston's main campus aren't thinking a bathroom break could lead into an armed robbery.

"Two guys coming in here and assaulting someone is shocking," said student Oscar Huerta.

Last Tuesday night about 7pm, a U of H student used the restroom just outside Farish Hall. Seconds later, two men approached him from behind.

"One of them put a metal object up to his neck which he believed to be a knife and demanded money, his money," said Lt. Bret Collier of the University of Houston Police Department.

The robbers got away with his wallet, including credit cards and about $50. U of H police are now investigating and hoping surveillance cameras caught the suspects. While a camera is not directly focused on the bathroom, more than 600 are positioned around campus and in the general area of Farish Hall.

"We are hoping that we may be able to capture someone, either coming or leaving from the area," Lt. Collier said.

The area around Farish Hall was also flagged for poor lighting last October during a security audit. It's not clear if improvements are planned. However, an email alert was sent out to students after the bathroom robbery.

"I was kind of scared when I got the email because it's not the first time we get these emails," said student Erika Rodriguez.

U of H police say it's the first aggravated robbery on campus this year. The last one happened three months ago in November when a student was held up at gunpoint on campus.

"I'm pretty surprised because I've been here late on the weekends before, studying on one of the floors. So, yea maybe I won't use this bathroom that late," said student Kyronn Charles.

Unfortunately because the armed robbers approached the victim from behind, there is no description of the suspects unless video provides evidence, which they are still sifting through. Luckily, the student was not injured during the robbery.

The University of Houston Police Department did not have crime statistics from 2010, but in 2009 there were ten robberies on campus.

We put our Crime Tracker to work in the police beats around the campus. In 2009, 252 robberies were reported in that area. Last year, there were 190 -- about a 25 percent drop.

Anyone with information regarding the robbery is asked to contact UHDPS at 713-743-3333.