Kansas University Public Safety officers have arrested two suspects and on Friday were looking for a third in a string of robberies Thursday night at McCollum Hall, 1800 Engel Road.
“This is a very random act. Someone walked in, they committed an act of violence, and they walked out,” Capt. Schuyler Bailey said. “What we can do is you have to have these people become good witnesses, get good descriptions and call us quickly.”
He said for the most part the student victims provided good information on the suspects, who are accused of breaking into two locked and occupied rooms and stealing objects. Officers arrested the accused getaway driver, a 19-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man, on traffic charges. They also arrested one robbery suspect, another 19-year-old man, who is listed in the KU directory with a room in the residence hall.
“They didn’t do it during a time when no one’s there. They did it when basically everyone was in the hall,” said Brandon Wittman, a KU freshman from Quinter, who lives in McCollum Hall.
The Douglas County District Attorney’s office on Friday charged the accused driver, David Wayne Banks, 19, Kansas City, Kan., with attempting to elude police, reckless driving and failing to yield at a stop sign. They also charged Lonnie Ray Neal, 19, who is listed as a KU student from Kansas City, Kan., with obstruction and criminal deprivation of property for stealing a cell phone from another student in the lobby.
The public safety office Friday released a timeline of the alleged robberies and the arrests:
l Between 8:10 p.m. and 8:20 p.m., a suspect entered a victim’s McCollum Hall room and took an $800 laptop computer.
l Between 9:15 p.m. and 9:25 p.m., a victim told police a suspect — Neal — took his cell phone valued at $200 from his hands without permission.
l At 9:25 p.m., a suspect in a vehicle refused to stop for officers, but officers obtained the vehicle’s license plate number.
“Because we had the tag, and for public safety reasons, we chose to terminate the pursuit at that time,” Bailey said.
Bailey said officers believed the suspects then later returned to the area.
l Between 9:30 p.m. and 9:40 p.m. another victim told police a robbery suspect came into a dorm room and threatened the victim with a hammer. The suspect then took a pair of tennis shoes, valued at $310.
l Around 10:15 p.m., officers spotted the suspects’ vehicle again as it was leaving the area of the residence halls. The vehicle then wrecked near 15th Street and Engel Road.
Officers there arrested Neal and Banks. Neal is accused of struggling with officers and running away before he was caught again.
Friday, Bailey said the incidents were still under investigation, and officers were still searching for the third suspect. The third suspect is also a KU student, he said. Officers have identified him, but they had not arrested him as of Friday.