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CHICAGO (CBS) – Officials at University of Illinois at Chicago were warning students to be extra cautious after a student was mugged near the school’s Near West Side campus on Wednesday.
At 11:25 p.m. Wednesday, a UIC student was walking north on the 700 block of South Laflin Street when he spotted two men getting out of a red SUV in the alley off West Lexington Street, according to campus police.
One of the men was armed with a semi-automatic handgun and approached the student and demanded his book bag. The victim set his bag down on the ground and the second offender picked it up, police said.
The crimes apparently didn’t stop there. The suspects targeted a second man on the street.
The would-be victim told CBS 2 he and his friends ran inside an apartment building, and one of the suspects tried to push his way in the door. The resident managed to shut the door first.
“I’ve never seen a handgun before, in somebody’s hand pointing towards me,” the man, who asked to remain anonymous, told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones. “I’ve seen a gun in a cop’s hand or a soldier’s hand, but never in a criminal’s hand. So it’s kind of scary.”
UIC police say between Sept. 12 and 18 they took 16 theft reports. They did arrest two Chicago men for robbing a student near Western and Flournoy on Sept. 6.
Police said the gunman in Wednesday’s robbery was a black male, 20 to 23 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 160 pounds. He had braided black hair and was wearing a dark baseball cap with white trim, a dark hoodie and blue jeans.
The second offender was described as a black male, 20 to 23 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 160 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing.
UIC Police and Harrison Area Chicago Police detectives were investigating.
The university also advised students to comply with any armed offenders intent on stealing property or valuables. They cautioned students to be aware of their surroundings; travel in groups when possible, especially after dark; use well-lit walkways; and to be aware of the location of the nearest emergency call box.
UIC has more than 1,500 such call boxes on campus.