The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 65.0°F | Overcast

Students Robbed at Gunpoint

By Brian Rosenberg
Editor in Chief

Four people were robbed at gunpoint Wednesday night in two closely related incidents near the Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NW12), the Campus Police announced yesterday.

Cambridge police records, however, show that there were only three victims.

None of the victims, one of whom was a student's wife, were injured. The other victims were students.

The assailants, identified as three black men in their early 20s, were between 6 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall. Two were described as wearing sweatshirts or dark baggy clothing, while the third had a yellow jacket on, according to Frank T. Pasquarello, a public information officer with the Cambridge police.

Pasquarello said the case was under investigation and that there were no suspects as yet.

The first robbery took place at approximately 9:10 p.m. Wednesday night. Yifang Gong G and his wife were walking down Albany St. on the way to their Main St. home when they noticed three black men standing in front of Edgerton House.

"They started following us, and we thought they looked suspicious, so we speeded up," he said. "There were two other students near Mass[achusetts] Ave., and I think [the suspects] saw them and sped up to catch up with us."

"One of them pointed a gun at my head and said I should give them my money," he continued. Gong handed over his wallet, which contained five dollars and a few credit cards. "My wife didn't have any money, so they took my jacket and watch," he said. Gong added that he was unsure of the value of the jacket and watch because they had been purchased in China some time ago.

Gong said he thought the robbers saw the other two students and moved away from he and his wife. "When they turned away, we walked to the police station. When we got there, [the police] knew about it already," he added.

Identity of others unclear

There was some confusion yesterday as to the identity of the other victim or victims. Cambridge police logs show that a Kenneth Pookman of Revere was robbed, but the typed report of the incident gave the name as Kenneth Parsons, also of Revere. Neither name is listed in last year's student or faculty directories, and directory assistance gave no listing in Revere for either name.

Pasquarello said this last victim observed the first incident, and so the suspects "came up behind him and robbed him of his backpack and wallet, which contained credit cards and $70 cash. They then fled towards the railroad tracks." This second robbery took place at about 9:15, he added.

Gong said the incident has changed his attitude about the area. "We thought it was safer than that right near Edgerton House... and I usually feel safe near MIT in general," he said. "I think my wife and I should go through different parts of campus in the future," he said.