A Yale College junior said he was robbed by an armed man around midnight Saturday evening on High Street between College and Crown Streets.
Although Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith said she was unable to comment on details of the robbery Sunday night, the junior, who asked to remain anonymous due to concerns about his safety, said the robber claimed he was armed and threatened to kill him if he did not turn over all his money. Five armed robberies have occurred since the start of the school year.
The junior said he was walking down the street and had stopped temporarily when it began to pour. As he stopped, he said a man grabbed him from behind and started cursing at him.
“I thought I was alone on the street,” he said. “But there was a small parking lot on my left where he came out from.”
The attacker pushed him up against a fence, he said, and demanded money.
“He checked my pockets and all he found was my cellphone,” he said. “I said that I didn’t have any money with me. He said he was going to kill me and pressed the gun against my chest … he didn’t find any and punched me twice in the stomach and then told me to get out of there.”
After the incident, the junior, who lives off-campus, said he ran to Old Campus and called the Yale Police Department, who he said responded within minutes and began searching for the suspect. The YPD was unavailable for comment as of Sunday night.
The student said the robber, who was black and in his twenties, was “shabbily” dressed and was wearing a black trench coat. He said the gun, which was underneath the trench coat, was hidden by a piece of cloth. Although the student said he definitely felt something hard pressed against his chest, he said he is not sure that the gun was real.
“It was dark, and I could not see very well,” he said. “I don’t want to say that it wasn’t a real gun, but there was no way for me to know.”
Although the junior was not sure whether a suspect had been apprehended on Sunday evening, he said he was told that YPD investigators would be working on the case Monday morning.
One of the junior’s roommates, who also asked to remain anonymous, said he felt that the suspect could have been apprehended on the same night had the police spent less time questioning the victim.
“By the time they were done asking him questions, the robber could have easily gotten away,” the roommate said.
Although he is not sure what steps Yale can take to make the area safer, the victim said he thinks something could have been done to prevent the incident.
“I was right by Starbucks,” the junior said. “I see students studying at Starbucks all the time. Had there been even one police officer on the street, this would not have happened.”
Paul Schaffer ’07, who lives close to the site of the alleged attack, said he thinks crimes have been occurring increasingly close to the center of campus. Although he said he does not fault the YPD for the alleged incident, he said he thinks the security of students living off-campus should be a primary concern of the University.
“Yale has a responsibility to make sure that off-campus students living close to campus are safe,” Schaffer said.
The YPD has increased both walking and car patrols in areas that have been heavily affected by crime in recent months.