No suspect yet in burrito cart robbery

Despite a quick police response to the gunpoint robbery of Roomba’s burrito cart last Thursday night, the New Haven Police Department has yet to come up with a suspect.

The Roomba cart, located at the corner of Elm and York streets, was robbed at 7 p.m. as Josafat Perez, who was staffing the car, was closing up and preparing to leave. After taking the day’s earnings from Perez, the robbers rode off on bicycles, Roomba co-owner Arturo Franco-Camacho said. The New Haven police are looking at surveillance cameras set up at the intersection in order to identify the perpetrators, he said.

A student buys a snack from the burrito cart. The police have yet to find a suspect for Thursday night’s gunpoint robbery of the Roomba cart on the corner of Elm and York streets. The robbers, who were on bicycles, managed to escape before police reached the scene.
Amy Ly
A student buys a snack from the burrito cart. The police have yet to find a suspect for Thursday night’s gunpoint robbery of the Roomba cart on the corner of Elm and York streets. The robbers, who were on bicycles, managed to escape before police reached the scene.

New Haven Police Department spokesperson Bonnie Winchester said police have made no arrests and have no suspects.

Though the police response was quick, Franco-Camacho said, the robbers had already escaped before the NHPD arrived at the scene.

“It was a prompt response,” he said. “But at that point, after five or ten minutes, they already found ways to escape.”

Franco-Camacho declined to identify the amount stolen, but Perez estimated that around $1,000 might have been taken. Franco-Camacho also said he thinks the robbery was planned, because the theft occurred as the cart was closing down.

Some students said they were concerned by the crime’s proximity to campus. Crime on the fringes of campus has been spotlighted in recent months following a series of robberies that occurred last fall, many of which were committed by youth riding bicycles.

But Justin Lo ’08 said too much attention is given to isolated crimes.

“I think we tend to focus too much on single cases,” he said. “For the most part, I think we’re safe on campus.”

Like Lo, Nathan Griffith ’10 said he does not feel any less comfortable walking around campus and said encountering crime is inevitable when living in a city.

Franco-Camacho called the robbery a “surprising” incident, but he said he does not anticipate a downgrade in the burrito cart’s service.

“It’s a shame that people look for easy money,” he said. “That wouldn’t deter me from coming back and providing our service for the students.”

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