An Ohio State student was the target of a reported armed robbery Monday.
Sydney Adelstein, a second-year in nursing and member of Delta Gamma women’s fraternity, parked her vehicle in a parking lot on Indianola Avenue near 15th Avenue — between her chapter’s house and the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house — after driving home from the library.
“I was getting something out of my trunk. I think I was at my trunk for maybe three minutes, and I went to go shut it and I turned around and I saw this person coming up,” Adelstein told The Lantern Tuesday. “I thought it was someone in my sorority. And she just came up closer and (then) I just thought it was some homeless person … She asked me if I had any money and I was like, ‘Oh, no, sorry.’
“When I said ‘no,’ that is when she put her hands on me and she was like, ‘No, I know you have money.’”
Adelstein said the woman then tried to take her bag but Adelstein didn’t cooperate at first.
“I started screaming out of fear, and that’s when she took her gun and she was like, ‘I will shoot you if you don’t shut up,’ and she put it to my stomach,” she said. “I wasn’t resisting, I was scared. I literally thought I was going to die.”
Adelstein said she then started looking through her bag for her wallet to find money for the woman, forgetting she had left her wallet in her car.
“She took my bag and was like, ‘Go lay on the ground.’ I was right next to my car so no one could really see,” Adelstein said.
Adelstein said the woman started to walk away with her bag when Adelstein stood up to lock her car out of natural instinct. The woman, though, turned around and pointed the gun at Adelstein again.
Adelstein said the woman said, “Stay down, don’t f—— move.”
After the woman left with Adelstein’s bag, which had her MacBook laptop, notes for class and other miscellaneous items in it, Adelstein ran to the back of the Delta Gamma house and had someone let her in. She then reported the incident to the Columbus Division of Police.
Adelstein said though she tried to use a built-in locator to find her laptop, she was unsuccessful because the laptop was not connected to the Internet. She said the computer had a password lock on it as well.
A public safety notice was issued about the incident Tuesday at about 5 p.m.
In the notice, the suspect was described as a black woman between age 16 and 25, about 5 feet 9 inches tall and approximately 200 pounds. She was armed with a handgun and was wearing a camouflage jacket, black pants and a black scarf or mask over her face, according to the notice.
A University Police representative declined to comment because the case is in the jurisdiction of Columbus Division of Police. Columbus Police representatives did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening.
Adelstein’s roommate, Colleen Durkin, a second-year in strategic communication, said she’s glad Adelstein is all right.
“I’m in shock because of it, (but) I’m just happy she’s OK,” Durkin said.
President of the Delta Gamma Epsilon chapter Hannah Nugent, a fourth-year in biology, said in an email she did not want to comment on the incident in order to “protect the woman involved.”
Delta Gamma’s house is located at 131 E. 15th Ave, and Phi Kappa Tau’s house is located at 141 E. 15th Ave.
Arielle Cronig, a second-year in international studies and live-in member of Alpha Chi Omega, said she was at the Alpha Chi Omega house, located at 103 E. 15th Ave., when the robbery occurred.
“All of a sudden, four cop cars just flew to the DG house, and we were all staring out the window,” Cronig said.
Cronig said the robbery has already affected how safe other Greek Life members feel living in their chapters’ houses.
“I had just walked home alone. I got home maybe 20 minutes before all of this happened,” Cronig said. “It’s really scary, especially because there’s a lot of places off-campus where you’re worried, but your own driveway is not one of them.”
Off-campus crime is an important topic in the university community, said Josh Ahart, vice president of Undergraduate Student Government and a fourth-year in public affairs. Ahart said he’ll be accepting suggestions from students about how to improve safety.
“I truly value what everyone else says (about safety), and I want them to have their concerns voiced and their suggestions heard. That (way) we can come up with the best way to help students in the off-campus area and the Ohio State community,” he said.
The incident Monday led to the issuing of the sixth public safety notice since the beginning of August related to an armed robbery, attempted armed robbery or aggravated armed robbery reported in the OSU campus area.
A reported attempted armed robbery Aug. 26 on the Olentangy River bridge and a reported aggravated armed robbery Aug. 7 at an Ohio Union parking garage prompted two notices. An attempted robbery reported Sept. 11 on West Maynard Avenue prompted a public safety notice that also mentioned an Aug. 19 reported armed robbery on West Oakland Avenue. There were also two armed robberies reported within two weeks in September at a Huntington Bank branch located at 235 W. 11th Ave. on campus, each prompting its own notice.
Chris Kiriakou, a third-year in economics who lives in the Phi Kappa Tau house, said he was worried when he heard about the robbery.
“In my memory, there has not been an individual held at gunpoint with nearly that proximity to our house. My immediate reaction was grave concern, not just for my fraternity but for everyone nearby given the severity of the situation,” Kiriakou said.
He said he tries to stay safe by avoiding walking late at night, especially alone or in unlit areas, whenever possible.
“There’s no one secret magic trick to prevent yourself from being held at gunpoint, unfortunately,” Kiriakou said.
Correction: Nov. 13, 2013
In the graphic in an earlier version of this story Pearl Street was misspelled Peal Street.