January 29, 2016

No Charges for “Misunderstanding” That Led to False Report of Mugging

An alleged armed robbery reported to have occurred on January 18 outside of Reynolds Club was deemed by the University to be a misunderstanding. No charges will be filed.

According to the original report, a University student was allegedly approached by a short, middle-aged white woman dressed in all white clothing. The initial report claimed that the woman asked for directions to the nearest shelter and eight dollars. When the student claimed to not have any money, the suspect allegedly presented a handgun and asked him: “Do you have any money now?” The complainant then fled and reported an attempted robbery to a University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) officer.

According to an update to the alert sent just two days later, the UCPD realized the original report was incorrect after an investigation of the incident, including a review of security camera footage.

“No weapon was displayed by the alleged suspect, and no robbery occurred,” Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Marlon C. Lynch wrote.

The University was legally obliged to report on the seemingly dangerous incident by the Jeanne Clery Act. This legislation requires that public and private universities participating in federal student aid programs release campus safety information and respond to situations involving violence according to specific guidelines.

“While conducting an investigation, the UCPD consults a multitude of resources to check the validity of allegations, including eyewitnesses and security camera footage. In accordance to the Clery mandate, any time a crime is reported where the alleged suspect still poses a potential threat to the UChicago community, a security alert can be issued while the investigation is ongoing, especially if a weapon is alleged to be involved,” the University news office stated.

The student who made the false report will not face charges.

“After further interviews, the UCPD believes the original report was the result of a misunderstanding on the part of the student. As a result, no charges will be filed,” the news office told The Maroon.

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