A potential seventh robbery of a University of Dayton student early Thursday turned out to be a hoax.
UD’s Department of Public Safety said the student initially told police he was robbed of $75 in cash by three black men after 12 a.m. in a parking lot near university housing on Trinity Avenue. But during their investigation, officers said they obtained information that led police “to believe the original report was false.”
After an UD officer met with the student later in the day, the student “admitted this incident was fabricated and did not occur,” according to a statement from Randy Groesbeck, director of UD’s administration and security.
Still, with six robberies involving UD students that have occurred over the past month on or near campus, university and city police have added extra patrols.
In the fabricated incident, the student told police he was walking alone and texting early Thursday when he was approached by the men. He claimed one of the men threatened he had a weapon, but never displayed one, demanded his wallet, took out the cash before returning it to the student, according to a safety alert the university emailed to students. The student told police he was not injured, and the suspects fled in a white car, according to the alert.
UD officials said they are continuing to investigate five of the six other robberies reported by students since Sept. 4, where the suspects displayed either a handgun or knife. Police made one arrest on Saturday, but there are other suspects. Descriptions vary in the crimes.
UD and Dayton police are urging students not to walk alone at night, always to remain aware of their surroundings and to use the campus security escort available until 3 a.m. when they must venture out. Nearby Kettering College said Thursday it notified its 981 students of the crimes at UD.
“Please be cautious when going to your car in the evenings,” said Kettering spokeswoman Mindy Claggett. “And if you would like an escort to your vehicle, call KMC security at 395-8695.”
Sinclair Community College in downtown Dayton has not reported any recent robberies. The college reported one robbery on or near campus in 2011, according to its police department.
At UD, robberies are up over last year, when the university reported three on or near campus. There were six in 2010 and one in 2009, according to campus police
“Unfortunately in this economic time and the society we live in today, anyone is susceptible if they’re out, especially if they’re out late at night or early in the morning, if they’re out by themselves,” said UD police Maj. Larry Dickey.
“We certainly have increased patrols and visibility of officers. We’ve got officers on bike patrol. We’ve got officers on foot patrol. We’re trying to saturate the area with coverage, but unfortunately, you can’t be everywhere at once,” he said.
Although the other crimes occurred on the weekends, UD went into a fall break on Wednesday, so students have been out late, Dickey said. Students told the Dayton Daily News earlier this week they still feel safe on campus despite the rash of crimes.
Anyone with information is asked to call UD’s Department of Public Safety at (937) 229-2121.