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York College students robbed at gunpoint in front of dorm

Updated: Wednesday, October 9 2013, 05:53 PM CDT
Written by: Donna Kirker-Morgan

Spring Garden police are looking over surveillance video of an armed robbery just after midnight on Tuesday, on the York College Campus.

Police say two students were held-up at gunpoint.

York College Junior Chad Bechtold of Chester County says he and his friend were walking towards Northside Commons when two men stepped into their path, one had a gun.  "They told us turn around get on the ground we were not going to fight"

Bechtold couldn't believe he and his friend were being robbed at gunpoint, afterall - they were on campus right by a dorm.

He said it only lasted about 30 seconds but he had enough time to stare at the them in disbelief.  He describes the two suspects as African American males, 6-feet tall, both with hoodies.  He says one of the men was one with a mask.

 Chad says one held the gun, while other took money and a phone from his friend, but he kept saying he didn't have anything and showed them what he had in his pocket--candy.

"I said here you can take it," Betchtold said "And they left me alone and walked away."

Mary Dolheimer, the Director of Communications says they are taking the proper steps, to make sure it doesn't happen again.   "This was in front a residence hall and it is appropriate to see what we can do to have it not happen again."

The school leadership has vowed to look at more ways to protect the students here.  They already they send out email alerts and help fund a police substation on Jackson Street where other muggings have occurred.  They will also provide police escorts.

In a letter sent to students on Wednesday night, President Gunter-Smith told students that they were taking additional steps to help make the campus safer.  The school has authorized overtime for campus security to have increased visibility and perimeter control.  The President also says they have contracted with SCHAAD Detective officers to have four persons on campus from 8 pm to 4 am in the three kiosks at Newberry Street, Grantley Road, and Richland Avenue, as well as a marked car with foot patrol in the vicinity of Northside Commons.

Students say they plan to use those options more now.

"We know they're out there we need to be more careful" said student Ian Howdyshell.

"We can walk in huge groups, don't talk and text  be aware." said student Rebecca Roher

Chad and his friend actually used an emergency signaling system to alert police  -- but then he didn't know what to do next.

The emergency alert system includes bright blue poles on campus with an emergency button that student may use to alert police.

 He says that may be an area the administration could focus on in the future. Chad and his friend ran inside the Northside Commons as police circled around, not knowing where they had gone to.

Chad says his friend was also not hurt in the incident but lost nearly $100 and an expensive phone.York College students robbed at gunpoint in front of dorm


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