Sudden phone snatchings on campus surprise Tech students and GTPD

Photo by Taylor Gray, Student Publications

Since the beginning of fall semester, four students have been the victims of robberies on or near campus. In some cases, the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) have been successful in taking the suspect into custody, but other cases are still ongoing.

The first incident took place in the evening on Aug. 19. It was one of phone snatching, in which a student was walking near the intersection of Ferst Drive and Atlantic Drive. Another individual on an electric bicycle rode past the pedestrian and snatched the phone out of his hand, continuing west on Ferst Drive. Two days later, GTPD issued an update stating they “arrested two juvenile males involved in this robbery. Both juveniles were charged with robbery by sudden snatching.”

The next incident occurred on Aug. 23. A student was at the intersection of North Avenue and Techwood Drive when two men on scooters approached him. The suspects told the victim they had a gun, although the victim never saw the weapon. The suspects took the victim’s phone and forced him to walk to the BP gas station on North Avenue and withdraw money from an ATM. The suspects then fled with the money.

One suspect was apprehended in this case according to an update sent by GTPD the following day. The suspect was arrested and charged with armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault and financial transaction card fraud. GTPD confiscated a pellet gun from the suspect, who was “involved in a similar armed robbery approximately one hour before in the area of Georgia State University/Five Points.” The investigation into the whereabouts of the other suspect is still ongoing.

The final two recent incidents occurred in quick succession on Aug. 28. In both incidents, a student was walking in the Home Park neighborhood, and a male individual got out of a car and snatched the victim’s phone out of his hand. GTPD was able to locate the car in question and briefly gave chase before being forced to stop for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. The car, which police say was driving recklessly, is a white four-door Acura with the license plate RMB6857. There were at least three people in the suspect vehicle, and police are in the midst of an active investigation to locate these suspects.

This week, GTPD provided an update on these two incidents. An email sent on Sept. 4 stated that warrants had been secured for the arrest of the two juveniles involved in the Aug. 28 robbery.

The email stated the investigation was still ongoing and investigations “also revealed that the juvenile suspects are wanted by surrounding jurisdictions for similar offenses.”

Further updates on all of these incidents can be found on social media at the username @gatechpd.

Clery Act Safety Alerts are sent to the campus community via email in a timely manner whenever there is a threat to the community as required by the federal Jeanne Clery Act. The community is only notified when a crime occurs within a certain radius of campus, including the Home Park residential area and Spring Street apartment buildings.

Individuals with information regarding these crimes or other suspicious activities are encouraged to anonymously call Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477.