Campus Robbery Investigation Yields Results

By Emma Way
Elm Staff Writer

Last semester, after leaving Hodson Hall Commons on Friday, Dec. 7, a Washington College sophomore was pursued by two Chestertown residents until he was knocked down behind Dorchester and stripped of his wallet and cellphone. The perpetrators then fled the scene with the cellphone and cash.

Shortly after Public Safety Officer Burton Brown,responded to the incident, a WAC Alert was sent out over email and text message to all faculty, staff, and students. Brown also assessed the victim, who had no major physical trauma and appeared to be healthy.

Now, more than two months later, the investigation is still active and is being lead by Detective Howard Eveland with the Chestertown Police Department. The two suspects in the case who committed the robbery and assault are still wanted by police, but one suspect has been charged in connection with the robbery.

Suzette Hawkins, of Edge of Town Drive, has been charged with theft of a product under $1,000. On Jan. 15 Eveland filed criminal charges and served Hawkins on Jan. 22. A preliminary inquiry is set for March 5.

The stolen good was the cell phone stolen from the victim. Eveland was able to get a lead in regards to the phone by tracking the item’s serial number to a pawnshop in Dover, Del.

In order to hunt the stolen phone down, Det. Eveland had to do extensive digging. “After speaking with a Maryland State Police Trooper who was investigating another theft of electronic equipment Hawkins’s name was brought up”, he said.

Once Eveland discovered Hawkins’s name he was able to unearth that “Hawkins had pawned several pieces of electronic equipment to stores in Delaware [before].”

Hawkins is just one piece of the puzzle, which can cause some concern in the college community since the minors who actually committed the robbery and assault are still at large.

Cameras cover WC’s campus and have been essential in aiding the Chestertown Police Department in identifying the culprits.

“The video cameras have demonstrated to the bad guys in our community that we are a hard target,” Roderick said.

One difficulty the investigation has found regarding the cameras is that the location of the crime is dimly lit and at the time had significant tree coverage. Since the incident, Public Safety has tried to make the path winding around the side of the Quad much safer by trimming the trees and working on a plan to sufficiently light the path.

Director of Public Safety Gerald Roderick works diligently to protect the campus and has taken initiatives to improve difficulties in identifying future criminals. Roderick and Eveland have worked tirelessly to put the culprits into custody.

“The most aggressive way to prevent crime is to get those who are committing it, off the streets,” said Roderick.

Despite the obstructed view provided by the cameras of the area around Dorchester at the time of the incident, the investigators are confident they have correctly identified the offenders. No charges have been filed on the suspected robbers, and this is still a very active case. Additionally, no statements have been released regarding the suspects due to their status as minors.

Generally, though, students are fairly at ease considering all the safety precautions WC took subsequent to the event.

“The robbery … definitely freaked me out, but it was nothing I lost sleep over. I doubt it is going to be a reoccurring problem, and students will take more precaution after situations like this do happen,” said freshman Trish Langley.

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