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2 students robbed in USC classrooms

March 19, 2008|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police are investigating two armed robberies that took place in classrooms on the campus of the University of Southern California in recent days, authorities said Tuesday.

The incidents -- one late Friday and the other Sunday afternoon -- occurred after many USC students had left campus for the start of spring break. In each case, a student reported being robbed at gunpoint while alone in a classroom studying.

USC officials said the first incident, reported at 11 p.m. Friday, took place in the Von KleinSmid Center. The victim told police he was studying when a man in a red-orange hooded sweatshirt came into the classroom, displayed a handgun, demanded his wallet and then fled.

In the second incident, a student reported that a man walked into the university's social sciences building Sunday at 1:30 p.m., pulled out a handgun and demanded his wallet, according to a crime alert distributed by campus security. The assailant in that case was described as wearing a black cloth mask as well as a red-hooded sweatshirt with a yellow Trojan emblem on the front.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner said investigators believe the same person may be responsible, although there were discrepancies in the witness descriptions. One victim described the robber as 18 to 20. The other victim said he was between 20 and 30.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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