Two Otterbein University students were recently involved in a theft and robbery offense in the west parking lot of the Campus Center on Aug. 15.
Neither of the students have been reported to have any serious injuries. The Otterbein Police Department is currently investigating the crime, and the suspects involved in the incident have yet to be apprehended.
"We have a safe campus, but we are not immune from crimes occurring every now and then," said Chief of Police Larry Banaszak in an email. "In this case, we are still investigating, so I can't comment on specifics at this time. However, we are very fortunate and thankful our students were not seriously injured."
According to the police department's crime alert, the two students were walking to the Campus Center when they were approached by two suspects asking to use a cellphone. After making some calls, the suspect kept the phone, and he and the other suspect ran away. The students gave chase and caught up with them, demanding to get the phone back.
A vehicle then arrived at the scene. One person got out of the car, and a fight occurred between the three suspects and the two students. During the fight, the student managed to get his phone back, and both students ran away. The suspects briefly chased the students before running back to their vehicle and proceeding to drive off campus.
With the police department still investigating, some students are speaking out about what the incident means for the safety of other students.
Kathrine Timmers, a sophomore studio art major, said the incident made her feel apprehensive, but hopes it will increase the importance of campus safety.
“At least it will make people more aware that although Westerville is a very safe place, stuff can still happen,” said Timmers. “I feel like everyone should definitely be more aware.”
The police department urges students to be extra-cautious after dark, to walk in groups in well-lit areas and to be careful of individuals requesting to use personal items.
"I'd like everyone to know that property can be replaced, so it's not a good idea to chase down robbery suspects," said Banaszak in an email.