USC students received a Department of Public Safety notification Monday detailing two related robberies on the 1200 W. 37th Drive block Sunday morning.
According to the alert, a student was approached at a party by a suspect who demanded his cell phone. When the student “raised his hands, backed up and indicated he did not want trouble,” two other suspects grabbed his wallet.
Another incident occurred that night during which a suspect, who introduced himself as “Breezie,” befriended a student. Later that evening, he stole the student’s cell phone after asking if the student had an Instagram account, according to the DPS notice.
Immediately after, the student alerted two men standing near him who then stole the student’s wallet and keys. The two men were identified as suspects two and three in the report.
DPS has yet to locate the suspects and is working with LAPD to solve the cases.
DPS is labeling the incidents as related due to their proximity and the similar behavioral and physical descriptions of the suspects, according to assistant chief David Carlisle.
“Typically when a student’s phone is taken, they are walking and they are not paying attention to their surroundings, and it is jerked from their hand,” Carlisle said. “So this is unusual in that the [suspect] initiated a conversation.”
DPS hopes that students remain aware of their surroundings when they are walking on streets and at social events.
“Students need to trust their intuition,” Carlisle said. “In most cases, students will have some indication that nothing is ‘quite right,’ and in those cases, it is best to be with a group of friends … and [not to] put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of.”
In the email notice, DPS advised students to be wary of strangers, refrain from using cell phones while walking and avoid distractions. DPS also warned students not to resist in the case of a robbery and to call DPS and LAPD immediately after going to a safe location.
Carlisle said that when students display their valuables, such as cell phones and wallets, they are likely to be targeted, especially if they are distracted.
“The faster DPS is notified, the better our chances are of locating the suspects,” Carlisle said. “We all have to be aware that these kinds of things can happen anywhere.”