The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 43.0°F | Fair

24-Hour Coffee House robbed over winter

By Joey Marquez

The Student Center Committee 24-Hour Coffee House in the Julius A. Stratton '23 Student Center was robbed twice this winter. The crimes, which Campus Activities Complex program coordinator Ted E. Johnson said were probably committed by the same person, resulted in a loss of $150.

The first robbery occurred Dec. 14 at approximately 4 am and approximately $80 was stolen. In the second robbery Jan. 8, the thief made off with $70.

The coffee house did not suffer significantly from the two robberies, Johnson said.

Both crimes were committed in the early hours of the morning when a small number of people was present, and both were "snatch and grab" crimes. The robber was able to easily open the money drawer, take the money, and run while the employee was busy.

In the police report, the coffee-house employee described the unarmed robber as a black male, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing approximately 175 pounds. The robber also had a distinctive thin moustache, the police said.

So far the Campus Police have no leads and no suspects.

Due to the sudden nature of the first crime, the Campus Police did not arrive soon enough after the "call in," giving the robber enough time to escape. The employee was unable to run after the robber since he had sole responsibility for the coffee house, the police report said.

The second robbery, which occurred at 2:05 am, prompted the coffee house to take action to improve its security.

Campus Police Deputy Chief James F. Mahoney Jr. said he suggested strongly that the coffee house initiate new methods of security to prevent such crimes in the future.

In response to the robberies, the coffee house is undergoing new "security methods" in order to prevent further crime in the future, Johnson said.

One change that is being made is the installation of a 3-foot-high sheet of plexiglass around the cash register in order to prevent access to the cash register by non-employees.

The coffee house is also changing the procedures regulating how employees handle money. Johnson said that employees will now to deposit money into a safe at the end of every shift to prevent an accumulation of money in the cash register at one time.

Johnson also said that the system of opening the cash register would not be as simple as pressing one button, as it had been before. He said that the new security would make it "more difficult" for people to steal and would result in "less money" to steal.

Aside from the new changes, the Campus Police are now patrolling the coffee house more closely to prevent future robberies.