Robbery Suspect Apprehended
One of the largest crime sprees recently to threaten college campuses around the Oakland area was brought to an end Tuesday night in an underground parking garage.
Carnegie Mellon campus police, as well as police from the University of Pittsburgh, and local city precincts had been on the lookout for over two weeks for a suspect whom police thought to be behind 18 to 22 armed robberies in the Oakland/Shadyside area. Most of the robberies occurred between 8 pm and 12 pm. The search -- which included an unmarked police vehicle patrolling the Oakland neighborhood -- culminated at midnight on the night of February 8, shortly following the commission of four armed robberies in the space of roughly one half hour.
Between 11:30 pm and his apprehension, the 22-year-old male suspect reportedly had robbed two female victims -- one at a PNC ATM at Fifth and Bellefield, and one in an apartment building -- as well as two more victims, one at Forbes and McKee and one near the Quality Inn on the Boulevard of the Allies. Police began to pursue him, moving from the University of Pittsburgh's main campus toward Magee-Womens Hospital. The suspect ran down the ramp of an underground parking lot and drew a loaded 9mm handgun. Police were able to apprehend him, but used a Taser in order to end the struggle.
The arrested man, already on parole for previous crimes, was supposed to be living in a halfway house in the North Side, and according to Lieutenant John Race of campus police, he will probably be spending a very long time in jail. At the time of his capture, the man was found with $1300 in stolen money, a 9mm handgun, and several victims' belongings. He has been positively identified by several people, and may serve as many as 10 to 15 years per convicted robbery. He will also be forced to serve the remainder of his previous sentence, for which he was on parole. "There's no telling how many robberies this guy did," said Race, although he noted that the suspect never hurt anyone seriously. "I'm just glad he didn't shoot anyone."
CMU student Andrew Ryan Yuhasz, a junior in business administration, is among the victims who may be asked to further identify the suspect. Yuhasz was robbed on January 31 at 8:10 pm near the Software Engineering Institute. The masked robber approached him from behind, asking: "What do you have in your pants?" The encounter soon escalated when the man drew a gun and directed Yuhasz to an ATM. The man eventually stole $600 and then ran toward Dithridge Street before Yuhasz was able to find a police officer along Craig Street. "Even if you are a six-foot-two male," Yuhasz said, "you are still vulnerable to armed robbery."