The Yale Police Department has apprehended a suspect they believe is responsible for the mugging of a male undergraduate in the basement bathroom of Woolsey Hall during spring break.
YPD Lt. Michael Patten said officers arrested William Little last Thursday shortly after the robbery, which occurred around 8 p.m. Patten said the police believe Little, a 20-year-old New Haven resident, cornered the student in a bathroom stall and demanded that the student give him money. Patten said it is unclear at this point whether the suspect was armed.
“[The student] went in to use the restroom in the basement of Woolsey Hall and was approached by a person who threatened him,” Patten said.
The student, he said, surrendered his wallet at the time of the attack and immediately called the YPD. Officers apprehended Little on the corner of Whalley Avenue and Goffe Street, approximately two blocks from Woolsey.
Some students said they were impressed at the timeliness of the YPD’s response to the incident, but others expressed concern because of the location of the mugging. Although several Yale students have been mugged in areas surrounding campus, Patten said this is the first mugging in recent history of a student inside campus walls.
“It’s pretty alarming that it happened inside the building,” Sheila Rustgi ’07 said. “People have been changing their actions this year, like taking the minibus and walking with friends, but I don’t really know what else to do. It seems like it’s not enough.”
Despite student concerns, Patten said he thinks the incident was isolated and is not part of a larger pattern such as the series of robberies in the city last fall by youths riding on bicycles.
While some students said they were surprised by the location of the mugging, they said they did not think the University should overreact to the situation.
“Even though it’s really unfortunate and awful that the mugging occurred, I think it would have to be a more serious problem for drastic action to be taken,” Donald Henschel ’07 said. “[Yale] can’t just lock the building or post guards everywhere. It would be really hard to make effective, and [the] atmosphere it would create is not in our best interest.”
Still, Patten urged students to be vigilant of their surroundings, especially when alone in public buildings such as Woolsey. If confronted, Patten said students should comply with the assailant’s demands and then call the police as soon as possible.
“They’re opportunistic, and they’re just looking to get the [money],” he said. “Generally, they don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Little faces charges of robbery in the first degree, larceny in the second degree and unlawful restraint.