Two students approached by robber

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Lanthorn File Photo

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – Lanthorn File Photo

Hannah Lentz

On May 14 at approximately 1 p.m. Pew Campus Security was alerted that at 12:25 p.m. a Grand Valley State University student had been walking on the sidewalk on Fulton Street and Winter Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, when an African-American male approached riding a mountain bike.

The suspect is described as having crooked teeth, short hair, being 40 to 50 years old, wearing black pants and a black T-shirt. The suspect showed a knife and demanded cash, the student complied, throwing their wallet on the ground in front of the suspect, who fled on the bike, westbound on Fulton Street.

Less than a week later on May 19, at approximately 9 p.m. a GVSU student called Pew Campus Security to report that at 8:45 p.m., while walking in the area of Mt. Vernon and Fulton streets in downtown Grand Rapids, the student was approached by a suspect on a mountain bike.

The suspect asked if the student could exchange paper money for coins. When the student said no, the suspect said, “Give me your wallet.” A passerby witnessed the incident and yelled at the suspect to leave the student alone after which, the suspect fled the scene going an unknown direction.The suspect is described as an African-American man, 35 to 40 years of age, wearing a long-sleeve shirt, pants and riding a mountain bike.

In both instances of violence, the Grand Rapid’s Police Department was notified and is following up on the investigation of the actions. Though there are striking similarities between the suspect descriptions of both suspects, there is no proof that the instances are related.

“These are unusual occurrences, especially for this time,” said Capt. Brandon DeHaan of the GVSU Police Department. “We have not had any further reports or anything suspicious reported to police.”

DeHaan and the rest of the GVSU Police Department encourage students to have a charged cell phone with them at all times, especially when walking alone. In both robbery instances, the victim’s cell phones were inaccessible.

“It is important to call 911 immediately,” DeHaan said. “This can increase the chance of apprehending the suspect.”

Be alert and aware. Contact 911 to report any criminal or suspicious activity.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should call the Grand Rapids Police Department at (616) 456-3400 or Kent County Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or toll-free at 1-866-774-2345.