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Suspects Escape After Pistol-Whipping Student in Louis St. Home

NBPD Unit Was Dispatched From Route 1 Because Other Officers Were on Meal Breaks
82 Louis Street
Police cars outside 82 Louis Street, the scene of a home invasion and assault early Thursday morning. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Three men with at least two guns broke into a home at 82 Louis Street and pistol-whipped a Rutgers student early yesterday morning, according to a Rutgers crime alert and police radio transmissions.

Police first learned of the situation at 3:56 am, but because many officers were on meal break at the time, a police car on Route 1 was dispatched.

"I know some of the other cars are on [meal break].  Can you start heading over to 82 Louis Street?" asked the dispatcher calmly.

"The neighbor called  in said... believe that someone just kicked in the door, went inside, hears some screming.  82 Louis," the dispatcher continued.

One minute later, the dispatcher confirmed there was "[a burglary] in progress," saying he had received multiple calls.

According to police radio transmissions, the assailants were three Hispanic men, who may have been looking for a safe in the home.

"My caller said there was a male in the background asking where was the safe at?" said a dispatcher, inquiring for an update at 3:58 am.  But no officers had arrived on scene.

It took at least seven minutes for a police unit to respond to the scene, according to the transmissions.

By the time officers arrived, the victim of the pistol-whipping was already walking to the local hospital.

"We have a victim who took off to Robert Wood Johnson with a head injury," said the first officer to arrive on scene.

According to the crime alert, New Brunswick Police "indicated the presence of narcotics" at the scene.

Rutgers' and New Brunswick's respective police departments have been engaged in a bitter jurisdictional feud, as New Brunswick Today first reported in December.

Prior to our December 20th article, Rutgers police was quietly stripped of their ability to pull vehicles over in the off-campus neighborhood that includes Louis Street, one of several student-dominated blocks in the Fifth Ward.

As a result, students living in the neighborhood had reported a severe decrease in police presence until recently, after a former Rutgers student (William "Billy" McCaw) was found dead in a Hartwell Street backyard.

The Rutgers administration received significant criticism for the lack of a security alert in the murder of Billy McCaw. Rutgers did not notify students about the death, which remains unsolved.

The school issued its first crime alert in over a month in response to the Louis Street home invasion; the alert was emailed to the campus community and posted on the RUPD's publically-accessible Nixle emergency alert system.

"In this incident, three male assailants entered the house and demanded items of value from the residents, who are affiliated with Rutgers University," read the alert.

"One of the male assailants displayed a handgun and used the handle of the weapon to strike one of the victims." 

The alert also marked a deviation from previous policy, which normally would not notify the public to the crime because it was not immediately on or adjacent to the campus.

Later in the day, Rutgers officials announced they were expanding the crime alerts to include serious crimes in the Fifth and Sixth wards of New Brunswick, where many students live.

"The new policy will be implemented as quickly as possible and will capitalize on the close working relationships that the university has with law enforcement and elected officials in the city of New Brunswick," said Rutgers Interim Chancellor Dick Edwards.

Anyone with information regarding the Louis Street home invastion is asked to please contact the New Brunswick Police Department at (732) 745-5200. 

New Brunswick Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the crime.