Yale Police Department officials said they are pursuing several leads following the armed robbery of a Yale College student early Sunday morning on High Street, between Chapel and Crown Streets, which they hope will result in an eventual arrest.
Although YPD Lt. Michael Patten said he could not comment on the specific details of the ongoing case, he said the YPD is taking the incident seriously and is committed to finding the suspect. The incident on Sunday, which occurred at 1:10 a.m., is the sixth armed robbery to occur since the beginning of the school year and is one of the closest to central campus.
While it remains unclear whether the suspect actually possessed a real gun, Patten said the incident, which involved a male student who lives off campus, is being treated as an armed robbery.
“At this point, we don’t know whether or not the gun was real,” Patten said. “We’re not even sure he had a gun, but we do know that the suspect threatened the student.”
Patten said he could not comment on details pertaining to the student’s identity.
The victim, a Yale College junior who asked to remain anonymous, said he was walking down the street early Sunday morning when it began to pour. The junior said he paused and a man grabbed him from behind, demanding money. The student said the robber pressed something hard against his chest, which he said the robber told him was a gun.
Yesterday, the victim’s suitemate, who also asked to remain anonymous, told the News that, had the officers spent more time searching for the suspect, the case could have been resolved the same night.
“By the time they were done asking him questions, the robber could have easily gotten away,” the suitemate said.
But despite criticism from the victim’s suitemate, Patten said the YPD responded appropriately to the incident.
“One of the officers went to interview the suspect, and other officers started driving around the area to look for suspects,” he said. “We picked up a couple of guys but he [the victim] didn’t identify them as the perpetrators.”
Patten said the area around High Street is an important area for the YPD to watch because of the presence of several Yale-affiliated buildings, including several cultural houses.
“We’ll pay more attention to it, but the exact tactical method remains to be seen,” Patten said.
While many students said they would favor increased police patrols in the area, they said the incident did not change their perceptions regarding the safety of High Street.
“I would definitely like to see police there because their presence would make me safer, but I won’t be avoiding High Street,” Charles Alvarez ’09 said. “That street is so much a part of campus.”
Other students said they are unsure whether they should feel afraid.
“I’m not scared right now and I probably won’t be unless I see something happen in front of my eyes,” Miya Cain ’08 said. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I’m still going to walk on High Street, but I will try to be more aware of my surroundings.”