NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—A Rutgers student was robbed of his wallet and struck in the face after being approached by two men on Central Avenue at approximately 7:10pm on December 2, according to a university crime alert.
The alert was not sent to Rutgers community members until more than 22 hours after the crime occurred.
It marks the fifteenth crime alert issued this semester, including messages sent regarding burglaries, robberies, assaults, and sexual crimes like groping.
Rutgers Police typically issue a crime alert after a serious, but random crime has been committed where suspects remain at-large. As of March, the university claims to issue alerts for any "serious" crime that occurs in the Fifth and Sixth Wards of New Brunswick.
Asked about a "crime wave" by the Daily Targum, President Barchi downplayed the increase in crime in the off-campus neighborhood.
Barchi also defended the expanded crime alert policy, which came about under pressure for the school's lack of response to the brutal murder of a former student killed just blocks from campus.
"It’s to make people aware of the fact that walking around two blocks off campus at 3 a.m. is not a smart thing to do in an urban environment," Barchi told the paper in an exclusive interview.
But, this crime against a university affiliate took place just after 7pm on a weeknight.
According to the alert, the student was approached, attacked, and robbed by two male perpetrators on Central Avenue near Prosper Street.
During the assault, the victim was struck in the in the face by one of the perpetrators and robbed of his cell phone and wallet. The victim sustained a minor injury from the attack and authorities indicated no weapons were used.
The perpetrators fled the scene and ran towards Duke Street, according to police radio transmissions. Police began to pursue the perpetrators on foot and in police cars.
“We are still following suspects. They are headed down Duke towards the dead end of the hospital,” said one officer at approximately 7:15pm.
“The guy’s saying he’s running towards Central towards Dix. He’s chasing after ‘em” states an officer shortly thereafter.
“Okay, he said he was on Duke Street by the hospital, that’s why I asked,” responds an officer.
During the pursuit, the perpetrators split up, running in different directions.
“One went into the backyard between 36 and 34 Dix Street and the other continued on Dix Street towards Hamilton,” responded one officer.
Police officers soon lose sight of the suspects after they split up: “They were on Duke, but now they ran towards Dix Street”
“One took off towards Hamilton and I don’t see him. He’s probably headed back towards Woodbridge [Street] right now,” stated an officer.
At 7:18pm, another officer confirms that the robbers are no longer in sight.
“Looks like he ran toward Woodbridge,” the officer says.
“One ran down Dix towards Hamilton. The other, with the white writing on the back, ran in between 34 and 36 Dix Street into the backyards,” an officer says.
At this time, descriptions of the perpetrators are limited: Two males, one is Hispanic, and the race of the other is unknown, and one is wearing a navy hoodie with white print on the back.
Anyone with information on this crime, or who may have been in the area at the time, should contact the New Brunswick Police Department Detective Bureau at 732-745-5217.