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DUPD starts 'Alert Team' after East hold-up

Following a mid-January alleged armed robbery of several Duke students on East Campus, campus police last week activated an "Alert Team" consisting of uniformed Duke and Durham police officers.

The officers' hours will vary and patrols will concentrate primarily on the inner and outer perimeters of East Campus, officials said. Duke University Police Department spokesperson Maj. Robert Dean would not elaborate on the number of officers on duty each day, or on their responsibilities, but said the system is analogous to one instituted last year following a similar incident.

Officers responded to Pegram Dormitory at 8:42 p.m. Jan. 18 in reference to three students' report that they were held up after they left the Ninth Street area and were walking to Pegram. They said that, around 8:35 p.m., they were walking the path to the side of Pegram between the Biddle Music Building and Baldwin Auditorium when a man approached them from behind and grabbed one of the victims by the shoulder. The man pressed what was believed to be a gun to the victim's right side and yelled, "Stop!"

Two of the victims ran toward the front of Pegram. As they were running, they heard the suspect yell, "Stop! Or I will shoot him!" referring to the victim that he had grabbed by the shoulder. One of the students returned to where his friend and the suspect were. The suspect ordered them to hand over their wallets. One of the students took out his wallet and handed the suspect $95. After taking the money, the suspect told the students to run, which they did.

The suspect was last seen running in the direction of Markham Street. He is described as black, 25 to 30 years of age, 5'9", 180 pounds, and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head and dark pants. There is no description of the alleged gun because the suspect had it covered with a black bandanna.

Anyone with knowledge about the crime, still under investigation, can contact Lt. Davis Trimmer of DUPD at 684-4713 or Durham CrimeStoppers at 683-1200.

Students and other community members should continue to be alert, avoid isolated areas and report suspicious activity as soon as possible by dialing 911 from a campus phone or 684-2444 if using a cellular phone, officials said. Community members can also use one of the many blue light phones located throughout campus.

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