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UI student allegedly robbed at knifepoint near Mayflower

BY CONRAD SWANSON | JANUARY 25, 2012 7:20 AM

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Law-enforcment authorities will not investigate an alleged knifepoint robbery near the University of Iowa campus unless the victim reports the incident to police, officials said Tuesday.

The alleged victim — a UI student — was reportedly walking back to his room in the Mayflower Residence Hall around 1:25 a.m. Sunday when he was robbed at knifepoint by three men.

A friend of the alleged victim, who asked to remain nameless, said he found him lying in bed, "clearly in pain."

"He was walking back from Burge by the frats," the victim's friend said. "Three guys in hoods blindsided him, threw him to the ground, and kicked him in the ribs. He also had a cut by his ribs, but not too deep. The patterns almost looked like they were from a fork."

UI spokesman Tom Moore said UI officials decided to release the warning on the school's website rather than run a HawkAlert because the alert is meant for immediate danger. Timely warnings, he said, inform students about recent incidents that are not emergency situations.

"The police were notified," he said. "Word got passed along, and at that point, it did not appear to be an ongoing threat. Not to minimize the experience of the victim; he was clearly the victim of violence."

The alleged robbery occurred two days after an alleged sexual assault near the Becker Communication Studies Building.

The victim's friend said he and other students in Mayflower later informed resident assistants of the alleged robbery. Another resident then drove the victim to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

The victim was released from UIHC at around 5 a.m. Sunday with "no permanent damage," his friend said.

The victim's friend expressed surprise that such a crime was committed on a street as busy as Dubuque Street.

"We've been talking to people on our floor," he said. "We need buddy systems. Even on busy streets, it's better to have someone with you."

Because the victim did not report the alleged assault to police, the Iowa City and University of Iowa police are not investigating the incident.

Charles Green, the assistant vice president for the UI police, said the delay between the incident and when the police were notified could have damaged the integrity of any possible investigation.

"He didn't go to the police at all," he said. "Which further complicates this instance. We haven't had the opportunity to talk to the person."

Green also said the type of warning and how warnings are presented depend on each specific case as well as the reliability of information given to him — which, in the case of this robbery, was secondhand.

"We need to be very judicious with timely warnings and HawkAlerts," he said.

Green advised students to avoid walking alone, especially late at night, and to avoid doing anything that could close them off from their surroundings — such as listening to portable music players or walking after consuming alcohol.

"You never think it would happen to you," he said. "I remember I felt invulnerable when I was young."


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