Three Salem County men are being held on $250,000 bail for allegedly robbing three Rowan University freshmen last month.
The men, who were arrested Wednesday, also are accused of beating one of the students, who resisted handing over his wallet, and pistol-whipping a fourth student who they robbed later the same night.
Ernest J. Watson Jr., 23, and brothers Lance M. Husser, 23, and Landis M. Husser, 20, all of Woodstown, are each charged with robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery and aggravated assault. The Hussers also are charged with firearm possession.
The brothers were arrested shortly after noon at their home by members of a task force assembled by the Salem County Prosecutor's Office. Watson turned himself in to the authorities shortly afterward, according to Rowan spokesman Joe Cardona.
The three men are being held at the Gloucester County jail.
Campus police and the Glassboro Police Department say that the men held up three freshmen at about 1 a.m. on Nov. 11 as the students walked behind a campus maintenance building. An unnamed 19-year-old male was beaten during the robbery when he resisted the gunmen's demands, Cardona said.
Ten minutes later, police charge that the gunmen also robbed Michael C. Phelan, a 25-year-old student, near the Crossings, an off-campus apartment complex. Phelan was pistol-whipped during the incident.
The victims' wallets and cell phones were taken in both robberies.
"We don't know exactly why [the gunmen] were on campus, Cardona said. "We haven't determined whether they were there specifically to rob students or if they were visiting friends."
Cardona credited Glassboro police and Rowan campus security for their work in the investigation.
"It was classic good police work that led to the arrests," Cardona said.
The Crossings apartments are about two blocks from where Rowan student Donald Farrell was beaten to death in October 2007.
Farrell, 19, of Boonton, N.J., was in a convenience-store parking lot on Route 322 when two men knocked him to the ground, beat and kicked him, and stole his wallet. He died of severe head and stomach injuries the next day.
Despite a $100,000 reward, no suspects have been arrested.
Crime at Rowan has been on a steady decline for four years, Cardona said, and police increased security patrols after Farrell's death.
"For the most part, people feel it's a safe campus," Cardona said. "But for the students, it is nice for them to hear that the people responsible for [the robberies] have been found."