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Buckeye Alert issued for armed robbery in campus building

Amber Evans / Lantern photographer

Ohio State issued a Buckeye Alert after an armed robbery occurred in a campus building Tuesday.

At 3:38 p.m., a male with a handgun entered the basement of the building located at 33 W. 11th Ave., where he robbed a male staff member at gunpoint, OSU Police Capt. David Rose said. The suspect has not been found.

A small amount of cash was taken, but Rose did not specify an exact amount. No injuries were reported.

The building houses OSU’s Office of Legal Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, Student Housing Legal Clinic and Student Judicial Affairs.

The suspect is described as a black male in his 30s and is 6 feet 2 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing a black hoodie, baggy pants and shredded Converse shoes, Rose said. He was also wearing a toboggan-style hat and has a gold tooth.

The Buckeye Alert, which was sent out around 4 p.m., said to avoid the area.

Text and voice messages were issued as part of the alert. Information will also be available on the Web at emergency.osu.edu and by phone at 247-7777.

“As the response was occurring, we thought it was important to get information out to the community, so we sent out a Buckeye Alert,” Rose said.

Tuesday’s incident was not connected to the recent string of robberies in the campus area, Rose said.

Rose said police arrived at the scene three minutes after the call was received. He said a thorough search of the building and the surrounding area was completed.

Rose said there was not a mandatory evacuation of the building, though some people inside at the time did leave. Some others locked themselves in a room.

Police received a tip that the suspect might have been inside the GameStop location in the South Campus Gateway. Store employees said police arrived but determined the man in the store was not the suspect.

Rose said OSU Police will have extra officers in the area and will collaborate with other local police agencies, including Columbus Police.

In a Tuesday email, Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of Student Life, and Jay Kasey, senior vice president of Administration and Planning, outlined the details of the police investigation.

“We know that this news will add to the anxiety level of students and parents as we wrap up this quarter, and we wanted to let you know what the university is doing,” they said in the email.

The incident is the latest in a string of armed robberies in the campus area. In November alone, OSU Police issued five Timely Warnings, which are different warnings than the Buckeye Alerts, to students, faculty and staff, alerting them of armed robberies in the area.

Tuesday’s alert was the first Buckeye Alert issued since the emergency alert text messaging system was updated in October.

Under the old Buckeye Alert system, students, faculty and staff had to register for the safety alert program in order to receive emergency alerts.

The Lantern reported on Oct. 3 that while the new system is still optional, OSU now pulls cell phone numbers from the student contact information and from the faculty and staff databases, according to Bob Armstrong, director of emergency management at OSU.

In order for students or faculty to have their phone numbers automatically added to the new Buckeye Alert system, Armstrong said they must list their cell phone number under the “Cell Phone” heading in their OSU contact information. Numbers listed under “Home Phone” are not included in the new system.

Armstrong said that under the new system, OSU will pay about $1 to $1.25 per person who receives an alert text.

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