Authorities search for suspects in armed robbery at UH Manoa

Authorities search for suspects in armed robbery at UH Manoa (5p)

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police are investigating a reported armed robbery of a student at an apartment on the University of Hawai'i at Manoa campus early Wednesday.

According to UH Manoa Public Safety officials, a student told them he was held at gunpoint after answering the door for someone who asked to use a phone to make a call -- that's when the suspect allegedly pulled out a handgun and demanded the resident's wallet, then took off.

20-year-old Jalen Rogers lives across the hall and says he was startled by the commotion outside his Hale Noelani apartment around 1:30 Wednesday morning.

"We were just up in the living room studying -- me and this other football player -- and we heard some girls screaming, some guys screaming, then I heard call 911 and I just seen people chasing each other. I thought, 'What the heck is going on?' I thought people were fighting or something," said Rogers.

Rogers says he realized it was more serious when he spotted a gun.

"One guy was already downstairs and there was another guy running with a gun, running down the stairs and then one of the guys that lived in there was chasing him down the stairs," Rogers said.

The residents who live in the third floor apartment where the alleged armed robbery took place did not want to talk to Hawaii News Now on camera, but the gunman is described as a 5'6" Polynesian man about 220 pounds with pock marks on his face.

Officials say he and an accomplice, who was seen holding a knife, jumped into a light-colored four-door sedan that was waiting in the parking lot.

The second suspect is also described as Polynesian, but around 6'2" with a tattoo on his neck.

"That's just the oddest thing that somebody chose the third floor to rob somebody. I don't really know if it was a set-up or what, you know?" said Rogers.

Other residents also described the incident as unusual and officials say it's uncommon.

"There have been four reported robberies over the last three years and that includes attempted robberies. That doesn't mean that a gun was involved. It means that you were threatened, so this is a very rare occurrence -- but once again, one incident is too many and we're gonna continue to remind our students to be vigilent," said UH spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl.

UH officials say there has only been one reported incident of someone having a gun on campus during the last three years.

The Department of Public Safety is sending a mass email out to students Wednesday to remind them to always lock their doors and windows and never let a stranger inside their room.

"It's scary because we keep all our doors open cause it's hot living in the dorms and it's also -- this is your community so you want to talk story to your friends or neighbors and so we keep our doors open. It's kind of scary that something like this can happen on a college campus," said one Hale Noelani resident who preferred not to be identified.

"For the sake of everyone living in the apartment's safety, I think that there should be like more campus security driving around at night or there should be more campus security walking around or because for an incident like that to happen here -- that could have been anyone's room and I think it's something very serious," said Kiana Krzyska, a Hale Noelani resident.

Meisenzahl says the University has considered security cameras but a review would need to determine if they're necessary and where, along with the costs associated with purchasing and monitoring them.

At this time, no arrests have been made.

The case has been classified as first-degree robbery, which is a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $50,000 fine. Anyone with any information is asked to call HPD or contact CrimeStoppers.

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