Armed man attempts to rob two students


managing editor, news

An armed man attempted to rob two female Gannon University students on the corner of West Seventh and Sassafras streets a little before 2 p.m. Sunday, according to Les Fetterman, director of Campus Police and Safety.
Fetterman said that two female students were walking from their off-campus apartment to the Power Room in the Waldron Campus Center when they were stopped by a man on a bicycle who demanded, “Give me money or I’ll shoot,” as he lifted his sweatshirt to reveal what is assumed to be a real gun.
The two students were not harmed, but one of the girls handed over her purse and upon rifling through it and not finding anything of value, the suspect threw the purse on the ground and rode away.
“The girls did what they were supposed to do,” Fetterman said. “They made a smart move.”
Fetterman also noted that it isn’t known if the gun was real or not – it could have been a BB or pellet gun – but they are assuming the gun was real.
The women then quickly walked to Waldron and called Gannon Police, who went to the scene and took their statements about the incident.
The police immediately reported the incident to the Erie Police Department, who sent out patrol cars in the vicinity of the attempted robbery.
Fetterman said the suspect was described as a white male with a beard and average build in his 20s or 30s wearing a ski mask, red backpack, a dark gray sweatshirt and jeans.
Fetterman said that they have a good photo of the suspect thanks to the hundreds of high-resolution security cameras covering nearly all of Gannon’s campus.
One of the things that Fetterman said that Gannon would like students to do is to download the LiveSafe app on their smartphones.
The app allows users to send tips and alerts to local law enforcement, send their location to their friends so they know where they’re going and provides users with tips on what to do in various emergency situations.
Fetterman said it costs Gannon about $12,000 a year to subscribe to the app, but it’s worth it.
“Instead of having 14 call boxes, we have 4,000 walking call boxes,” he said.
Fetterman also said the investigation has been turned over to the Erie Police Department to allow Gannon to focus its resources on the students.
“We give the cases to the Erie Police Department and we give all our attention to the students,” he said. “I take it personally when something like this happens to our students.”
The suspect is still at large and was last seen fleeing the scene on a bicycle heading westbound on Seventh Street.
Anybody with any knowledge of the suspect or incident is encouraged to report it immediately to Campus Police and Safety at 814-871-7690.

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