Campus Safety received two separate reports of armed robbery on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 9:40 p.m., one near Marston Quad at Pomona College, and the other near the Kravis Building at Claremont McKenna College, according to an email sent to students.
In the first incident, Zach Sides, 18, from Maine, was walking through Marston Quad from the Coop Fountain to South Campus to visit his boyfriend, Devin Mercier, PO ‘20, when two men approached him from the side.
Sides said that the men could potentially have passed as college students, so it wasn’t suspicious that they were walking around. When the men asked Sides if he knew where to buy marijuana, Sides responded that he didn’t, and the two men told him “empty his pockets.”
Sides was confused and asked what they meant, and the men told him he had heard them correctly. When he refused to empty his pockets, Sides said one of the men pulled a knife and told the other man to “get the gun.”
Once he saw the second man reach for what he assumed was a gun, Sides gave them his wallet and Mercier’s ID card and keys.
The Campus Security email described the suspects as Hispanic males and said that the male with a bigger build and a white T-shirt may have been holding a firearm. The suspects were last seen heading southbound on College Avenue in a dark-colored Toyota Camry, according to the report.
The second reported robbery occurred near the intersection of Columbia Avenue and North College Way, near the Kravis Building.
According to the email, one suspect was described as a male about 5-foot-6-inches tall and armed with a knife, and the other suspect was reported to have dark-colored hair. They were said to be traveling in a light-colored four-door vehicle.
Campus Safety did not mention whether the robberies may have been connected or if the suspects were believed to be the same in both cases, but said it has added additional officers and increased its patrols of these areas since the robberies.
When the call came in about the robberies, Campus Safety and the Claremont Police Department arrived around the same time to search the area, according to Stan Skipworth, Director of Campus Safety. Campus Safety also immediately issued an emergency alert to the campuses.
“We suggest that students, staff and faculty who are traveling at night to travel with friends or groups whenever possible and use the most commonly used paths and well-lit routes,” Skipworth said. “We also have Campus Safety escorts available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.”
Armed robberies are extremely rare across the campuses. According to statistics released via the Clery Act, the highest number of robberies in recent years occurred in 2012, when Pomona experienced two incidents of robbery and CMC had four such incidents. However, the statistics do not yet include data for 2015 or 2016.