Two people were robbed in broad daylight on Sunday on the MIT campus, the MIT police reported yesterday.
At 2:10 p.m. on Sunday, a man was robbed on Vassar Street near the Stata Center. The victim was not affiliated with the Institute.
About ten minutes later, a male MIT student was robbed by the same four men in the plaza outside the Media Lab.
Both robberies were unarmed, contradicting a widely circulated e-mail message from the MIT Police which indicated that the first robbery was “armed.” MIT Police Sgt. Cheryl Vossmer said that was an error, and both robberies were unarmed.
The robbers were black males, aged twenty to twenty-five years, wearing “black puffy jackets and black hats,” Vossmer said. The police believed both robberies were committed by the same group, Vossmer said.
In the first robbery, outside the Stata (pronounced STAY-ta) Center, the victim was asked for the time, and then when he pulled out a cell phone, the robbers “grabbed the cell phone out of the victim’s hand,” the police said.
In the second robbery, outside the Media Lab, the student walked through the group of four perpetrators, one of whom grabbed the victim. Once grabbed, the victim was held “in a choke hold” and then punched, the police said. The victim’s cell phone, wallet, and watch were taken from by the perpetrators.
The MIT police said that both they and Cambridge police, conducted “a substantial search in the area … to no avail.”
Daylight robberies are unusual at MIT, but this incident was not isolated. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, at about 3 p.m., a male was punched in the face and hip and his backpack was stolen outside the Koch (pronounced COKE) Biology Building, Building 68.
The month before, at night on Thursday, Nov. 20, a female student was assaulted by a pair of men who appeared to be carrying a gun. That robbery occurred at about 10:00 p.m. at night, near the Sidney-Pacific and the new Ashdown (NW35) dormitories, northwest of campus.