4 charged in robbery of 2 Rowan students
The similarities between the two assaults were unmistakable. A month and a half after a 19-year-old Rowan University student was robbed and beaten to death, two 20-year-old Rowan students were also beaten and robbed.
The similarities between the two assaults were unmistakable.
A month and a half after a 19-year-old Rowan University student was robbed and beaten to death, two 20-year-old Rowan students were also beaten and robbed.
In both incidents, the victims were residents of the off-campus Beau Rivage apartments, approached by several men who asked for the location of the party in the complex.
The 19-year-old, Donald Farrell, of Boonton Township, Sussex County, was walking from the Beau Rivage and directed the group to the apartments. Two of the five men then attacked him, stole his wallet and cell phone, and fled in their vehicle.
No arrests were made.
In the Saturday assault, the two victims were standing outside their apartment when they told four suspects they didn't know of any party. They were attacked and robbed of cash and other belongings.
Four teenagers were quickly arrested and charged and were being held yesterday.
Investigators do not believe the two cases are connected, said Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, and Timothy Michener, director of Rowan University's Department of Public Safety.
But the common thread - weekend drinking parties at nearby off-campus locations - is creating problems for Glassboro and Rowan police, authorities said yesterday.
It's drawing the wrong kind of people.
"People are advertising parties on the Internet and charging [for drinks]," said Michener. "We don't mind people having a good time, but we don't want excess.
"Alcohol is well known for being a precursor for violence. That's a problem for us. You have vandalism, assaultive behavior and sexual assault."
Rowan and Glassboro police patrol off-campus areas near the college, especially on the weekends when, Michener said, there can be as many as a dozen parties in the townhouses at the Beau Rivage.
"We look at the [Internet] advertisements and the criminals learn about them, too, maybe by word of mouth or by the reputation [of an area]," said Michener. "But the criminals are not there to party; they're there to commit crimes. They see this as a soft target, easy pickings."
In the Saturday incident, the two victims were attacked shortly before 11 p.m.
Authorities said one of victims was held at gunpoint by two of the four suspects and struck across the face with a weapon, causing a laceration. He was treated at a hospital and released. The other victim was assaulted but not injured.
After the robbery, the four suspects were running away when a Rowan officer noticed them, Michener said. While three of them hid behind a car, the officer had the area cordoned off and went in to detain them.
About the same time, he heard a call on the Glassboro police radio about a nearby armed robbery.
"It was a stroke of luck," said Michener. "It was also just good solid police work. They [officers] know what's going on, and we were lucky this one played out well for us."
The Glassboro police came to the scene to make the arrest. The fourth suspect called one of the other three on a cell phone and was persuaded by police to surrender.
Police later learned the weapons used in the robbery were a BB pistol and a replica handgun.
A 16-year-old Philadelphia high school student, whose name was not released because he's a minor, was charged with robbery, theft, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. He was transported to the Gloucester County juvenile detention center.
Three other teens - all from Williamstown - were being held yesterday at the Gloucester County Jail. William H. Mitchell, 18, was charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit a robbery. Bail was set at $100,000 cash.
Michael J. Caruso, 18, was charged with robbery, theft, aggravated assault, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Bail was set at $100,000 full cash bail.
And Christopher E. Jenkins, 19, was charged with conspiracy to commit a robbery. Bail was set at $50,000 full cash bail.
Michener said that police were still investigating the killing of Farrell, a sophomore who was attacked Oct. 27 on Old Heston Road and died the following day of head and stomach injuries at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
The attack was similar to one at Kutztown State University about two months ago when a 19-year-old student was fatally attacked by three men while walking to his dormitory.
"If you come to Glassboro with the intent to commit a crime," said Michener, "we're happy to give you a free tour of the Gloucester County jail."