Two Buffalo State students were robbed in their dormitory room early Thursday, the third violent crime directed at Buff State students since the semester began, though it was the first on-campus attack.
Police are puzzled why the robbers went to the top of the building to rob the individuals.
“The robbers went all the way up to the 10th floor, and that makes it appear it wasn’t random. It’s clear it was purposeful,” said Peter M. Carey, chief of university police at Buffalo State College.
The three masked men with a silver handgun entered the top floor of Tower 2 about 3:50 a.m. and knocked on an outer door to the common area of a suite with adjoining rooms, police said.
A student in the suite opened the door though he did not know the men, according to Carey.
“They then pushed the student into his dorm room where his roommate was sleeping and took a cellphone and a small amount of money,” Carey said.
In the midst of the holdup, the sleeping roommate awoke and ordered the thieves to leave. They did, but not before they dragged the roommate from his bed and roughed him up, according to police.
Neither student suffered serious injuries and they have been offered counseling services.
“This is not the first robbery in a dorm, but they are very rare. I can’t tell you when the last one happened,” Carey said.
The robbers, dressed in black hoodies, gloves and masks, may have been targeting those two students, he added.
“We’re trying to determine how they got in the building since you have to swipe an electronic fob to open the lobby door, and why they picked these students,” the chief said.
The robbery is the third attack on Buffalo State students since the start of the fall semester.
While out walking late at night Aug. 31, Jabril Muhammad, 18, and two other students were confronted by six people who robbed them at Grant Street and Potomac Avenue.
As they fled, the robbers fired several gunshots and Muhammad was struck in the arm. He recovered from his wound and returned to school.
Hours later that same night, two female students living off campus were beaten and robbed at Richmond Avenue and Dorchester Road when returning home from the bars on nearby Elmwood Avenue.
They said four men chased and tackled them before ripping their cross-body strapped purses from them. One of the young women suffered a knife wound to the wrist and a concussion.
Are Buffalo State students safe?
Carey responded yes, but with a caveat.
“They are safe, but when anyone is in an urban environment, you have to have a different set of personal safety measures,” he said, noting that two of the attacks occurred off campus. “I would advise students to take advantage of the college escort van and walking escorts. We also have 43 blue light emergency phones throughout the campus.”
As for dorm students, he said they need to make sure they know who an individual is before opening the door.
“Look and see through the small glass panel in the door who it is and don’t admit anyone into the dormitory unless it is another resident,” he said.
In attempting to solve this latest robbery, the chief said investigators are reviewing surveillance camera videos and interviewing the students again.
With the weekend starting, Carey said campus police will have an increased patrol presence.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call University Police at 878-6333.
Buffalo State, meanwhile, is not the only location where college students have been assaulted. Last month, two assaults on University at Buffalo students occurred in University Heights.