Two more robbed at lake

Trio used fake gun

The crime rate at Los Medanos College does not seem to be on the decline. An armed robbery took place at the school’s lake just after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the second in less than month.
“In the most recent incident, two students were confronted by individuals they did not know, and who demanded personal belongings,” said LMC President Bob Kratochvil. “Both victims…were unharmed.”
A campuswide safety alert was sent out to students and staff via email the evening of Dec. 1, informing members of the college community about the crime, which occurred earlier at approximately 6:40 p.m..
Police Services Lt. Ryan Huddleston of at LMC said in an interview the two victims, who were sitting on a bench near the LMC lake, saw three males approaching them. Only one of the suspects reportedly spoke — he was carrying what appeared to the victim to be a toy-replica, plastic firearm — and he demanded the female student hand over her bag. She refused.
Both students reported to police they thought the man was joking and didn’t take the situation seriously at first. But, Huddleston said the man then approached the male victim and told him to hand over his bag as well. He fled toward the college leaving his bag behind. The bag, which contained a few binders, was taken by the suspects.
Many things about this crime echo the events of the first robbery, which took place early last month on Nov 5. Both incidents involved three unknown males wearing hoodies and a gun, or replica, was involved, but Huddleston said they can’t be sure the crimes are connected.
“We don’t know, we can’t tell based off the loose descriptions,” said Huddleston, who explained that in the first crime the victims did not get a good look at the assailants because it was dark — they couldn’t even say what color their clothing was — and in the second two of the men were not seen up close.
Both crimes also occurred after sunset, a time when students and members from the community are prohibited from being in that area.
“We have tried to tell people the lake is closed from sunset to sunrise,” said Huddleston, adding this area of the campus is dangerous at night because it is poorly lit and unpopulated. Even during the day, he said, there are not a lot of people around.
“There are signs posted at various locations around the lake regarding its closure at night,” he said. “We are evaluating the locations and wording of that signage and are evaluating the need for better lightning near and around the amphitheater where the most recent incident took place.”
The day after, Kratochvil visited the site where the recent crime took place, “to see the area first hand” and found, even though he said the area seems adequately lit, three light bulbs did need to be replaced and the south side of the lake did not have any light posts.
Huddleston said there have been talks of putting in additional lighting by the lake.
He added that Police Services is taking the situation seriously and will focus patrolling the area around the lake more, “but we can’t be everywhere at once.” So he offered a few safety tips to students:
n Don’t walk around looking at your phone or with headphones in your ears, and pay attention to your surroundings.
n If you see something report it, no matter how insignificant you think it is.
n At night, walk to your cars in groups or Call Police services for an escort.
Kratochvil also wants students to know the college is not taking these incidents lightly and is doing what it can to make the campus more secure.
“Safety of our students and our employees continues to be a very high priority,” he said. “Campus personnel are taking steps to respond to safety concerns and to prevent crimes to the extent possible.”
If you want to report a crime or ask for an escort, day or night, contact Police Services at (925) 439-1505.