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Police Announce Arrests, But Assaults and Robberies Continue to Affect Neighborhood Near Rutgers

The Fifth and Sixth Wards Have Seen a Spike in Crimes Reported to the Public, But Many Are Not Publicized
RUPD/NBPD

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—New Brunswick City Hall announced the arrest of a juvenile for a robbery in downtown on Friday, saying it was connected to previous incidents.

"During the investigation, the suspect was found by police to be in possession of property taken from victims in two separate robbery incidents reported over the past month," read a press release issued by city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw, rather than the city's police department.

It's not clear if the first arrest has anything to do with a recent string of robberies near the Rutgers campus, but a similar incident occurred the following night on Plum Street, where a victim was assaulted for the second weekend in a row.

As we reported, since October 19, there were four robberies deemed worthy of being reported on the Rutgers crime alert system, including three where handguns were displayed and two where victims were injured.

Rutgers police still haven't responded to questions about last weekend, when a surge of incidents were described over police radio transmissions, including several assaults.  Only one was deemed worthy of a crime alert.

Since then, there have been two more robbery/assault incidents, making for a total of six robberies generating crime alerts in three weeks, and an untold number that went unreported to the public.

On Sunday, November 9, Rutgers' Police Department announced the arrest of an 18-year-old from Franklin Park in the Fifth Ward assault and robbery, but three other suspects got away.

Despite the arrests, robberies and assaults continue to plague the city, especially in the area near the campus of Rutgers University, where two "crime alerts" were issued by campus police in less than 24 hours this weekend.

After a Kean University student was found dead in a backyard a few blocks off-campus this February, Rutgers and New Brunswick police announced unprecedented cooperation and the university agreed to expand its crime alert policy.

In the two incidents this weekend, it does not appear weapons were not mentioned or displayed.  But both incidents ended with assaults, and one with a hospitalization.

The weekend's first alert came at 12:05 am on Sunday, a full day after an unidentified student was assaulted and robbed near the intersection of Hamilton and Hardenbergh Streets in New Brunswick.

"In this incident the victim... reported being approached by two males; one of which assaulted him and then removed items of value from his possession. The perpetrators then fled in a black colored vehicle towards Easton Avenue."

Police said the victim in that incident declined to be taken to a hospital, although Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital was just a block away.  The person suffered "non-life-threatening injuries."

A subsequent incident more than 24 hours later resulted in the arrest of one of four suspects in an assault and robbery on Plum Street, which took place in the middle of the block between Hamilton and Somerset Streets.

"A Rutgers student reported that he was walking on Plum Street when he was approached by four males who demanded that he turn over his personal property," reads the crime alert, issued at 12:53pm today, just under twelve hours after the assault.

According to police radio transmissions, a wallet was stolen in the incident.

"The victim was assaulted and items of value were removed from his possession. The victim received non-life threatening injuries and was treated at a local hospital."

According to police, 18-year old Myles Soni was arrested approximately five minutes after the assault near Somerset and Harvey Streets.

Soni is charged with  robbery, aggravated assault, and conspiracy to commit robbery.

"Witnesses to the robbery identified him as one of the individuals involved," reads the alert.  "The descriptions of the remaining three suspects are limited at this time."