Northwestern graduate student assaulted in robbery attempt

Lauren Caruba , Assistant Campus Editor

An unarmed offender assaulted and attempted to rob a Northwestern graduate student on campus early Tuesday morning, University Police said.

The 31-year-old student was walking northbound at approximately 5:50 a.m. on the sidewalk between the Rebecca Crown Center and the Music Administration Building when the assailant, described as a black male in his early 20s wearing a black knit hat and a dark coat, approached him, according to a University crime alert. The email alert was sent to the NU community at 12:51 p.m. on Tuesday.

The suspect grabbed at the student’s pants and coat pockets, reportedly telling the victim to “Give it up!” and “Let it go!” before punching him in the face. After engaging in a “scuffle” with the student, the offender fled the scene without taking any of the student’s items. The victim suffered minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital.

The student described his attacker as standing between 5 foot 8 and 5 foot 9 with an average build.

NUPD is still investigating Tuesday’s incident and welcomes information from any witnesses. No suspects have been apprehended at this time.

Deputy Chief of Police Daniel McAleer said the assault’s timing was somewhat strange, as it occurred in the middle of an extreme cold freeze in the Chicago area.

“It’s rather unusual, with the weather being as cold as it is and the time being 5:50 a.m.,” McAleer said. “There’s not a lot of people out at that time.”

He said the incident was one of relatively few on-campus robbery incidents in the past year. The last campus robbery was in mid-August, one of two occurring over the same weekend late that month. Two robbery incidents also occurred last May, according to NUPD reports.

However, the majority of robberies technically occur in Evanston on the perimeter of campus. Last school year, several NU students were targeted in a string of attempted and successful robberies near campus, some of which involved weapons. The number of robbery incidents has decreased since then, McAleer said.

“It’s been infrequent for the most part,” McAleer said. “Most folks would agree that the campus proper is a very safe place to be.”

— Lauren Caruba