AUSTIN, Texas - On Thursday morning, two armed men broke into a West Campus housing complex while students were asleep inside and robbed them at gunpoint.
It’s the third armed robbery reported in West Campus this week.
A 22-year-old UT student, who asked not to be identified for his own safety, said he woke up suddenly around 6:30 Thursday morning and saw two men pointing guns at his face. “That was just pretty terrifying,” he said.
He said the two armed robbers became frustrated with him when he didn’t respond quickly to their questions. “I got struck in the face with their gun,” said the student victim.
The 22-year-old said he watched as the men quickly scoured his room for anything they could take before moving on to his roommate.
Once the armed men were gone, his roommate called 9-1-1. “It was scary waiting in the room not knowing whether the next person to open that door would be the armed robbers or policemen and that was just a really long, terrifying 15 minutes,” he said.
“To my understanding, the call to APD went something along the lines of, ‘I’m hiding in a closet. My roommate’s being held at gunpoint. Come quick.’ And it took 15 minutes, and that is not saying anything negative with APD, but there is clearly a major problem with that,” said Cater Joseph who manages several properties in West Campus, including the one where Thursday’s robbery happened.
The Austin Police Department said their officers actually responded more quickly than that. According to public information office records, “The call about the robbery on San Pedro Street came in at 6:17 a.m. The first unit was on scene at 6:22.”
Joseph said over the past two months crime in the area has grown out of control. “It is just eye-opening and something needs to change. This is unreal and someone could’ve so easily gotten killed,” said Joseph.
Just this week, Austin police said two other armed robberies were reported in West Campus, as well as one in Southeast Austin and one in North Austin. In all of those cases, robbers in a dark sedan targeted women walking alone at night. That’s why detectives believe they are looking for the same suspects in all four robberies. They haven’t said if Thursday’s case is part of the same spree.
“This issue around campus has been getting worse and worse,” Joseph said.
Thursday’s victim said he’s hoping the city will install overhead security cameras and additional lighting soon to help keep other students safe because he doesn’t want anyone else to have the kind of wake up call that keeps them up at night. “I never thought that I would experience something like that,” he said.
Austin police said Thursday’s suspects are described as white or Hispanic men in their early or mid-20s. One is between 6 feet and 6 foot 2, about 180 lbs. He was wearing a burnt orange bandana, black gloves and a white hooded sweatshirt at the time of the robbery. The other man was about 5’7”, 140 lbs, and was wearing a dark baseball hat, black hoodie, bandana, and ripped white washed skinny jeans.
Police said weapons were stolen during the robbery. Detectives are asking anyone with information to call them.