2 Georgia Tech students targets of attempted armed robberies

Two Georgia Tech students were the targets of attempted armed robberies early Saturday within a 20-minute span, the university reported.

In both incidents, the victims said they were approached by a man armed with a silver handgun who demanded the students’ property. In both incidents, however, the gunman fled without taking anything.

Neither of the students was injured, a Tech spokesman said.

The attempted robberies were the latest of several serious crimes targeting students at Georgia Tech, which has stepped up campus patrols.

The first incident Saturday, around 12:55 a.m., occurred near the campus on Hemphill Avenue near Rosalyn Street in the Home Park neighborhood.

The student said he was walking when a man approached him, pointed a handgun and demanded his property. The student fled to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant and called police. The robber, who had chased the student, fled on foot.

Twenty minutes later, around 1:15 a.m., another student walking near Ferst Drive and State Street was approached by a man fitting the description in the first holdup.

The second student also said the gunman demanded his belongings and when he was told the student didn’t have anything, the gunman fled.

"It is fortunate that in both situations, the students were not harmed and were able to provide a description of the suspect, who had striking similarities in both incidents,” Georgia Tech spokesman Matt Nagel said in a statement.

In both incidents, the suspect, armed with a silver handgun, was described as a 5-foot-8 black male, 160 to 180 pounds, shoulder-length dreadlocks with light colored tips, a dark shirt with light colored stripes and dark pants.

In recent days, Georgia Tech has increased patrols after three female students were accosted while walking across the campus.

Campus Police Chief Teresa Crocker said investigators believe one person may be responsible for those attacks.

“With the similarities that we have, we think that it may be the same person,” Crocker said recently. Two of those attacks also occurred on a Saturday.

“The Georgia Tech Police Department will continue to partner with the Atlanta Police Department and other law enforcement agencies on this investigation and to raise awareness and identify ways to enhance safety initiatives,"  said Nagel, the Tech spokesman.

The university has issued a safety advisory with tips to remind students, faculty and staff to report any suspicious activity immediately to Georgia Tech Police by calling 404-894-2500.

People should walk in groups, be aware of surroundings, program the Tech police number into cell phones, and call the Stingerette, campus transportation, for a ride home at 404-385-7433.