DPS and MPD team up to nab suspects in campus robbery

As spring break began, Marquette’s Department of Public Safety stayed hard at work, collaborating with the Milwaukee Police Department to arrest one suspect and take two others into custody for questioning regarding two recent armed robberies on campus and a string of other off-campus crimes.

The arrest was made on March 11, just two days after the suspect was allegedly involved in robbing a student at gunpoint of her purse and laptop outside a residence near North 17th Street and West Kilbourn Avenue. The suspect’s dark-colored SUV and the gun have also been linked to another on-campus robbery that occurred Feb. 20 and a number of robberies on Milwaukee’s East Side.

Chief Larry Rickard, DPS director, was especially pleased with how quickly the suspect was apprehended and attributed the investigation’s success to the close relationship his officers share with MPD.

“This is an excellent example of the type of extensive crime fighting assets we have available within DPS,” Rickard said. “MPD and DPS officers put an end to a string of robberies linked to these suspects that affected other portions of the city.”

Rickard said a team of officers was put together to investigate the ongoing robberies around campus and in particular to find the suspect’s vehicle.

Since none of the victims could give a specific description of the vehicle, DPS used video surveillance from the March 9 robbery to create a solid description of the SUV. The vehicle was spotted on West Highland Avenue near North 17th Street, where MPD made the arrest and found a gun matching descriptions given by the robbery victims.

Lt. Paul Mascari, assistant director of DPS, said a group of DPS officers spent a long time carefully reviewing the video footage from several different cameras and then handed it over to MPD who determined that the SUV was a Nissan Pathfinder.

According to Mascari, a DPS investigator had just begun his shift when he decided to take a short drive specifically to search for the Nissan.  Fifteen minutes later, the case was solved.

Just as the DPS officer recognized the vehicle, several District Three MPD officers arrived on the scene, making for a smooth, swiftly executed arrest. Like Rickard, Mascari also believes DPS’s strong bond with MPD made the arrest possible.

“I think the situation worked out so well because of the relationship built over many years with MPD,” he said.

Though gun violence on campus has generally decreased over the years, DPS has been particularly busy with this case and is very pleased with how it was resolved.

Rickard, who has two sons studying at Marquette, makes it his personal mission and the mission of his officers to keep Marquette a safe place to be.

“We’re not a school built with four walls around it,” he said. “We know that if we can’t keep our students safe, they’ll go somewhere else.”

As a way to further demonstrate that mission, DPS is offering four free self-defense classes this semester, which teach simple strategies for escaping potentially dangerous situations. The second session takes place today in the Alumni Memorial Union at 5 p.m.