Students robbed at gunpoint

Update, 2 p.m., Friday: South Orange Police Department sent out a press release the students were walking on Riggs Place when they noticed two males following them. According to the release, the students began to run away from the suspects when one of them caught up with the victims and brandished a small black semi-automatic handgun and stated, “Stop, make it easy, empty your pockets.”

One of the students handed over his cell phone and student ID, but the other student refused, according to the release.

The release went on to say the robber pressed the handgun into the student’s left cheek and said “I’m gonna (sic) have to shoot you.”

“This student grabbed the robber’s arm, knocking out the handgun and pushing the robber to the ground,” the release said.

According to the release, the students then fled, and the robbers did not follow.

“The armed robber is described as a dark skinned black male between 5 feet 10 inches and 5 feet 11 inches and roughly 160-170 lbs with a small gap between his front teeth and some type of scar or mark on both cheeks,” the release said. The release added that a search of the area for the robbers and handgun was conducted by the SOPD and Essex County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit, without results.

The SOPD is conducting an ongoing investigation.

The release advises anyone with information on the crime to please contact detective Mark Garret, SOPD at (973) 763-3000,extension 7789.

Update: 2 p.m., Thursday: Gary Christie, Assistant Director of Public Safety, told The Setonian that a few new details are available in the armed robbery incident of last night.

He said the suspects came from the Ivy Hill area and ran back in that direction after the incident. Christie added that authorities are in possession of video footage from the area, which may be used to identify the suspects.

Christie also spoke of when the University found out about the incident and the timing of last night’s PirateAlert message.

“The (South Orange) Chief of Police (James Chelel) called me at home around 10 (minutes) to 11,” Christie said. “We’re working on protocols and procedures (with PirateAlert), not only in South Orange but with Maplewood and Newark. We can’t get the info out if we don’t know it.”

Two Seton Hall students were robbed at gunpoint on Riggs Place near Gardner Avenue on Wednesday night, according to a PirateAlert text message and call sent to students late this evening.

The Setonian has verified that one of the students who was robbed is a brother Pi Kappa Phi, according to the fraternity’s vice president, Matthew Masiello.

According to a broadcast e-mail sent at midnight, the incident occurred at approximately 8 p.m. on Feb. 23. The South Orange Police Department reported the incident at 10:55 p.m. that same evening.

The e-mail also said the suspects produced a dark colored handgun and took property from the victims. When the victims resisted, the suspects fled on foot towards Irvington Avenue. The victims then notified the police.

According to the e-mail, the suspects were described as two black males, between 17 and 19 years of age, 5-feet-10-inches and 5-feet-11-inches tall and wearing dark clothing.

The PirateAlert message advised students and personnel to avoid the area for the remainder of the night.

Check back soon for continuing updates on this breaking news story.

Caitlin Carroll can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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