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Area Sees Break-in, Additional Robbery

By Lauren E. LeBon

ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

After three serious crimes last week, two more incidents occurred on or near the MIT campus over the weekend.

Just a day after two attackers held two MIT students at gunpoint, another armed robbery occurred on Friday, this time near Memorial Drive and De Wolfe Streets, near the west end of campus. On Saturday afternoon, MIT police apprehended an intruder who broke into Tang Hall.

Though local criminal activity is above average, the trend did not alarm MIT Police officials.

Third armed robbery in a week

On Friday afternoon at 2:39 p.m., a man was held at gunpoint by an unknown man at the area near Memorial Drive and De Wolfe Street, according to an MIT Police crime bulletin.

No one has been arrested yet, said Officer Frank Pasquarello of the Cambridge Police Department. Because the investigation is ongoing, few details about the incident are available to the public.

Detective Sergeant Mary Beth Riley of the MIT Police said that the armed robberies appear to be unrelated.

“Some look like copycats. There’s no definitive pattern,” Riley said.

In 2001, there were no robberies on or around the MIT campus. In 2000, one robbery occurred on campus, and four occurred on public property, according to the MIT Police annual crime reports.

Riley said that the police, though on alert, do not find the increase in incidents in the area unusual. Since MIT is situated between the large cities of Boston and Cambridge, an amount of criminal activity is to be expected, Riley said. She added that the nicer weather may be a factor in the increase in criminal incidents.

“It’s nicer and more people are out at various times,” Riley said.

This latest armed robbery is the third in the past week. The first happened in the alley behind Bexley Hall on April 19 in broad daylight. A man approached a truck driver and held him at knifepoint, demanding money. The second occurred early Thursday morning, when two young men held two MIT students at gunpoint and made off with their credit cards, $40 in cash, and a laptop.

Intruder at Tang arrested

On Saturday afternoon at 4:22 p.m., the MIT Police received a call from a Tang Hall resident reporting a “suspicious person” on the 20th floor. The resident described the intruder as a short black male wearing a black leather jacket and jeans, according to an MIT Police crime bulletin.

The intruder fled Tang on foot after stealing some student property. MIT police caught up with him and arrested him on a larceny charge.

Riley said that there was no connection between this incident and the armed robberies.

No major security changes made

Despite the crimes, no major changes have been made in campus security. Riley said that the police will continue to issue bulletins and to make the campus community aware of concerns in their neighborhood.

“Officers are always aware of what’s going on at MIT and in the surrounding areas,” Riley said.