On-Campus armed roberry, drug involvement

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José Healy
News Editor

---------------------Photo by Danny Sauer--------------------- Capt. Charles Steadman, Sgt. Dave LeMire, Officer Bud Curtsinger and Officer Joshua Bandergriff are four of the Campus Safety Officers who handle issues of alcohol, violence and drug involvement at the University of Dallas. CSO strives to ensure student safety under all circumstances.

Irving police said Monday that an investigation into the on-campus armed robbery of a University of Dallas student last July has been closed because the individual refused to provide investigators with more information about the case.

The student was a rising sophomore biology major who told Irving police he was robbed of his cell phone, laptop, $420 in cash and money orders, and  his ID card. John Argumaniz, the Irving police public information officer, said the student declined to provide investigators with additional information that would have helped lead police to the three individuals who attacked him.

The three individuals were not UD students, the police report said, adding that illegal drugs were involved in the confrontation that led to the attack at the Student Apartments.

CSO Capt. Charles Steadman said it was the first armed robbery reported on campus in at least 28 years.

Argumaniz said the student, who dropped out of UD after the attack and a subsequent review of the case by the university’s Office of Student Life, provided conflicting stories to the police about what happened during the robbery.

In one version, which Argumaniz said investigators considered to be  “closest to the truth,” the student told police he had invited one of the suspects to his apartment to sell him “a half ounce” of marijuana.

Once in the apartment, the suspect – whom the student had met a week earlier at a Dallas nightclub called Insomnia – said he wanted to step out of the apartment to smoke, the Irving police report said. The suspect returned with a black revolver and was accompanied by another individual.

The student told police the gunman grabbed him and held the pistol against his head, demanding that he give him everything in his pockets, which included his cell phone, $150 in cash and his ID card. The two then ransacked the apartment and found an additional $270 in a dresser drawer.

According to the police report, the student was then forced to remove his clothing, get in the shower and stay there. The two assailants subsequently fled in a Chevy Tahoe driven by a third individual.

At first, police said, the student tried to convince investigators that he simply had invited one person to his apartment for lunch and that the man tried to rob him. But when officers confronted the student with marijuana residue found in his apartment a day after the incident, the student told police he had brought the man to his apartment to sell him “a half an ounce” of marijuana.

Argumaniz said the student then refused to provide any more details about the attack, especially when it became clear that the student may well have been involved in the sale of controlled drugs.

“Because of that illegal activity, the victim has not been cooperative,” Argumaniz said. “Without a victim, we are not able to move forward.”

Argumaniz said more information is needed “and the victim has not been able to provide it.”

The former student, reached in Houston, told The University News that he had invited the assailant to his apartment for lunch and nothing more.

But when confronted with language in the police report in which he admitted that he had invited the assailant to his apartment with the intention of selling him a half ounce of marijuana, the former student said: “All the reports were jumbled.”

He said he had provided the police with the name of one individual who had attacked him, and he also had provided police with the vehicle model identification.

The former student said that after the incident, once a Campus Safety report had been filed, he was informed by the Office of Student Life that judicial proceedings had been started against him for having engaged in “dangerous activity that could harm me and others on campus.”

“They were saying that if I had not invited them to campus, nothing would have happened, and since I invited them, I was responsible for them,” the former student said, adding that the Office of Student Life informed the student that judicial proceedings would be dropped if he withdrew from UD. The student did.

Joe Cassidy, the dean of Student Life, declined to comment on the incident, saying his office does not talk specifics about cases involving students.

But Cassidy did admonish students to take the necessary precautions to prevent incidents such as the one in the Student Apartments.

“Students need to make smart decisions in terms of whom they are affiliating with and whom they are inviting to campus,” he said.

According to CSO reports, the armed robbery was the second drug-related incident on campus in 2011. On Jan. 28, two students were arrested by an Irving police officer for possession of marijuana. In 2010, CSO filed four reports involving drugs.

No student has ever been expelled for possession of drugs, according to Steadman, though students have voluntarily withdrawn from the university after charges have been filed against them.

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