The Philadelphia Police Department has released new information regarding the recent off-campus apartment armed robbery at Temple University. The 2015 Lincoln sedan that was stolen has been located.
Seven of the eleven victims spoke with Temple Update to clarify details of what happened that morning including how the robbers got in the house and what they did inside.
One of the residents, Myla, said, “The first newscast said someone knocked on the door and someone let them in, but that’s not what happened.”
Early Friday morning, two masked men broke into the off-campus apartment building on the 1300 block of North 15th Street. No arrests have been made.
Local news reports have claimed that residents let them into the building, but the victims say the suspects walked through the outdoor gate that had been broken for months before breaking into their front door.
Students, Helen and Autumn were among the first to be woken up by the suspects, one was armed with a gun.
“They came into my room. Helen and I’s rooms are right next to each other so they were kind of going back and forth until they forced the four of us into my room,” said Autumn.
The armed suspect stayed in Autumn’s bedroom as she and the other robber went to each floor of the apartment in search of the other students.
The suspect took a knife from the victims’ kitchen to hold at Autumn’s back as they woke up the students.
Josie was a friend of the residents’ and was staying over for the night. She recalls her reaction to being woken up.
“I almost thought it was a joke, I didn’t know what was going on and I just remember him saying to Autumn, ‘She thinks it’s a joke. Make her get up,’ once I heard that I knew it was serious.”
In total, six female residents, three of their boyfriends, and two female friends were held hostage in the basement for an hour and a half.
Autumn recalls the robbers initially breaking into her room.
“I remember them, they asked for my phone charger, so at this point I thought we were just being robbed and I was just going to hand everything over and hopefully they were going to leave, but when they used my charger to tie [her boyfriend] up, I knew it was going to go on.”
The suspects repeatedly asked the victims if they had any drugs. One of the victims, Emma, said the men were not prepared to leave empty handed.
“When they realized that we definitely do not have drugs in the house, they were flustered.”
The armed man stayed with the victims in the room while the other searched through the home for valuables, such as phones, cash, credit cards.
The victims were then led out of their room one by one, forced to wipe passwords from their phones and give up their card information. The residents’ friend, Josie, did not hesitate to give the robbers what they wanted.
“There was a gun to my head, he was in my face. I’m going to comply and that’s the best thing we could have done.”
One of the victim’s had her car keys in her purse and the suspects left with her 2015 Lincoln Sedan.
The suspects locked the students in the basement before leaving but left their laptops downstairs, so the students were able to contact friends and family to call the police. Resident Helen said she knew exactly what to do when the robbers entered her room.
“The second I saw them I kind of knew what was happening and it’s kind of sad that I knew what was happening. I knew to offer them my phone, I knew to offer them whatever I had.”
After numerous requests for their outside gate lock to be fixed, resident Morgan said the landlord did fix the lock finally, but it was too late.
“They fixed the gate before we even got home from the police station that morning.”
Luckily, none of the students were physically harmed. The victims urged the university to devote more attention to off-campus safety. Their home was just one block outside of Temple’s outlined patrol zone.
“We should be included. We are only four blocks off campus and it’s mind boggling to me that that’s the aspect they are taking, when in reality you are a university with 30,000 kinds; you need to make sure those 30,000 kids are in that patrol zone.”