Six students bound and gagged in armed robbery at University Courtyard Apartments
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Updated: Thursday, December 3, 2009 17:12
Six students were bound and gagged early Monday by four armed robbers who broke into the students' University Courtyard apartment looking for drug money, Newark police said.
The incident occurred at 1:20 a.m. in the 500 building of the apartment complex on Scholar Drive, Lt. Brian Henry said.
The suspects made noise in the hallway, prompting a resident of the apartment to open the door slightly. The suspects then pushed the door open and entered the apartment.
Inside, they allegedly bound the students' hands and covered their mouths with duct tape. The victims, all between 18 and 20 years old, include four male residents of the apartments and two female guests. One of the women suffered a bruised eye after being struck by the door when it was pushed open, but no other injuries were reported.
The suspects, armed with two black pistols and a knife, demanded drugs and cash and eventually fled with a safe and several personal items, Henry said.
Henry said residents of the apartment told police marijuana is openly used there, but police have no indication drugs were being sold in the apartment. Based on the suspects' demand for drug money, police are investigating whether the suspects were aware of drug use in the apartment and assumed drug sales were occurring.
Another possibility, he said, is that the suspects intended to rob another apartment, but got the wrong location.
Either way, Henry emphasized the crime was not a random act.
"We can say with almost certainty they were targeting this apartment for the purpose of stealing drugs or drug money," he said.
The same apartment was burglarized sometime between Nov. 25 and Nov. 28 when none of the residents were present. Henry said it appeared that the burglars were searching for something in particular, but nothing of value was taken. Police are investigating whether the two incidents are connected.
The suspects in the robbery are described as three white males and one black male, all 20 to 25 years of age, 5 feet, 10 inches to 6 feet tall, average build, and wearing baggy blue jeans. One was wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat, and another had a bandana covering the lower portion of his face.
The suspects fled carrying two dark-colored backpacks, one camouflage backpack and a pillowcase. Police believe they left in a silver, four-door, newer model car with dark windows.
There are no suspects in last week's burglary at the same residence.
Police are urging anyone with information about either incident to contact Det. Michael Watson at (302) 366-7110, ext 133 or Michael.Watson@cj.state.de.us. Information can also be reported anonymously to Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, where a reward may be available.