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This item originally appeared in the November 4, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

A gun-point campus crime at Neilson Residence Hall has the Tech Police Department searching for two suspects.

Oct. 28, on the east side exterior steps of Neilson, three male students were approached by two black males with semi-automatic pistols, police reports said.

"The names of the students involved are confidential due to the active investigation of the crime," Tech Chief of Police Stephen Quinnelly, said.

The first suspect is approximately 5'8" and between the ages 18-23. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, dark colored long shorts and black shoes. He was carrying a black semi-automatic pistol, Quinnelly said.

The second suspect is approximately 6' tall with light skin and dark hair and between the ages of 18-23. He was wearing a black hooded sweat shirt with a long white T-shirt underneath, long dark colored pants and black shoes. He was carrying a chrome semi-automatic pistol, the Tech chief said.

Quinnelly said crimes like this -- in busy well-lit areas against three males -- should not happen.

"This was not a typical robbery," Quinnelly said. "Crimes like these carry hard penalties."

According to the 2005 True Blue Drew Book, which is layman's interpretation of Louisiana statutes, "Whoever commits the crime of armed robbery shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than 10 years and for not more than 99 years, without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence."

Quinnelly said the Tech police do have foot patrols in the area that deter crimes like these, but no matter the vigilance they still can happen.

The last incident of armed robbery on campus was Dec. 17, 2003, and the suspects were caught in the act, Quinnelly said.

Reactions to situations like this can differ and there is not a textbook answer on how to handle something like this, Quinnelly said. Quinnelly said he does not want students playing the hero in these situations.

"Assess the danger and your capabilities, but students should not risk harm for material things."

The Student Government Association provides escorts across campus that amount to 6,500 trips per year, and each one of these could have prevented a crime, Quinnelly said.

"We're not immune to crime and things like this happening," Kimberly Ludwig, SGA president and a senior business management and entrepreneurship major, said.

The active patrols, surveillance cameras and area lighting dissuade most from attempting robbery on campus and Tech has a low average of three per year, Quinnelly said.

"I run every night through the dorm area and feel safe because I always see police officers, but I will definitely keep a better eye out now. I think the Tech police could put a foot-patrol in the area to hear me scream if something were to happen," Sara Schutz, a senior biology major, said.

The department is exhausting all resources in the hunt for the suspects, including the Ruston Police Department's network of informants, Quinnelly said.

"We work very closely with the Tech Police Department and believe that it was perpetrated by non-students; therefore, I believe it will be helpful to have us assisting in the investigation," Randall Hermes, Ruston chief of police, said.

Quinnelly urges anyone in the "Tech family" who has any information about the crime to contact Crime Stoppers.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $800 for information leading to an arrest in this crime.

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