Minutes before closing time at the Temple University branch of the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union yesterday, a man pulled off a daring robbery only several feet from a bustling crowd of collegians.

The robber, who is being sought by the FBI and Philadelphia police, escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash from the branch in the Howard Gittis Student Center.

About 4:30 p.m., he entered the branch, on 13th Street near Montgomery Avenue, and presented a demand note to a teller, authorities said. After receiving the cash, he fled.

He was described as a black man, 55 to 65 years old, with a light complexion and a mustache, and wearing a green knit cap, wire-rimmed glasses and a tan "varsity" jacket with stripes on the collar and sleeves. He also had a bandage or tape on the bridge of his nose.

Some students were shocked by the news.

"I don't know how that can happen," said sophomore Hamid Floyd.

Students shared their opinions.

The center lacks sufficient security, said Stacy Gray, a freshman. "They can definitely steal out of this building; it's not hard," she said.

Meanwhile Nadine Mompremier, student government president, said she feels safe there. "I know campus safety has gone above and beyond protecting the student center," she said.

Hours after the robbery, life had returned to normal.

Dozens of students filed in and out of the building, filling seats in the food court.

The center is an integral part of campus, said Jeff Dempsey, student senate president, but the incident is the reality of living in a big city.

"We as students tend to get in the middle of the city, the neighborhoods," he said.

"These things, not saying it's bound to happen, but at the same time, it's realistically going to happen."

Tipsters are asked to call the FBI at 215-418-4000, or the police at 215-686-TIPS. *