Georgia State University President Mark Becker has ordered the temporary closure of a campus library to the public until tighter security measures are in place following more armed robberies of students inside the building.
The university said two more GSU students have been robbed at gunpoint in Library North, the scene of multiple armed robberies in the last month.
The latest victims said they were robbed of their laptops, the university said in the alert sent Thursday morning. Both robberies occurred before 8 a.m.
“We will take aggressive action and put all of our enforcement resources to bear in finding the perpetrator of these crimes,” Becker said in a release Thursday. Becker also said he is “taking immediate action to vigorously address security issues.” Those actions include:
* Temporarily closing the library to the public while new security measures in place.
* Doubling the number of police officers on each shift patrolling campus.
* Taking steps to secure all exits and entrances, including having uniformed officers at each entrance checking the Panther IDs of all faculty, staff and students.
* Installing additional security cameras at the library.
* Holding campus safety forums to hear concerns from our community.
Search for suspect
At least four robberies have been reported since December — all happening at Library North at the intersection of Decatur and Courtland streets.
Deputy Chief Carlton Mullis said the university is looking into why robberies keep happening in the library.
“Armed robberies are very rare at Georgia State and certainly inside the buildings,” he said.
One factor at play may be the isolated study areas of the library, which may allow robbers to remain hidden, Mullis said.
“We are increasing our police and security patrols of campus and specifically in and around the libraries,” he added.
Library robberies started on campus Dec. 15, when a student was robbed at gunpoint of his cellphone and laptop at about 1:30 p.m.
The next day, GSU police arrested 38-year-old Daniel Duplessy, who remains in custody at the Fulton County Jail.
His arrest didn’t halt campus robberies.
The next robbery was reported Jan. 12, when a student told police a black man described as 5-foot-11 with a low haircut and tattoos on his neck stole his book bag, which contained a MacBook.
Georgia State police, in turn, enhanced library patrols with specialized units on Jan. 12, police said.
But despite the change, the man allegedly returned to Library North Jan. 14 and stole a student’s MacBook and cellphone, Mullis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A week after that armed robbery, police released a sketch of a man wanted for questioning in that incident and two others. The suspect, GSU said, was wearing black Adidas shorts, a black top and a grey beanie.
Mullis said no one is in custody in connection with the most recent robberies, but he thinks they are all related.
“The safety and security of our students, faculty and staff is our first priority,” Becker said.
Anyone who sees the man in the composite sketch is asked to call police at 404-413-3333.
— Please return to AJC.com for updates.