UPD and MPD investigate armed robbery

Two armed men allegedly stole an undetermined amount of money from a second floor office in the Marvin Center Tuesday morning, University administrators said.

The suspects entered the building at about 11 a.m., went up to the GW Food Services office, room 206, and pulled out a gun on two female Aramark employees, according to a prepared statement read by Director of Public Affairs Barbara Porter.

The men placed the employees in a vault and proceeded to ransack the office, according to the statement.

A GW employee triggered a silent alarm after the men had left, which notified University Police, according to the statement. But Porter said the suspects already had fled the scene. She said authorities do not know where the suspects entered or exited the Marvin Center.

The suspects did not harm any GW employees, Porter said. She added that UPD and Metropolitan Police are continuing to investigate the incident and have not caught the suspects.

One suspect is described as a black man, at 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a medium build, according to a UPD crime alert. He is reportedly in his early to mid-30s and wore jeans, a blue jacket and a hat.

The other suspect also was described as a black man, at 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a slim build. UPD reported he is in his early to mid-30s and wore jeans and a green jacket.

Porter said security cameras in the Marvin Center let authorities get clear descriptions of the suspects.

Employees in the GW Food Services office were unavailable for comment. One employee of the Bind, a copy center located around the corner from the office that was robbed, said UPD and MPD never questioned him.

John Appling, the Bind employee, said he is concerned because his office does not have security cameras or a silent alarm.

“I think anywhere there is a cash register, there should be a camera,” he said.

No one came to search his office after the robbery, Appling said. He added that the University needs to show more concern because “everybody could have been in jeopardy.”

“Everybody is taking it so nonchalantly,” Appling said.

Porter said she saw police officers talking to people in the second floor offices surrounding where the robbery took place.

The robbery was the first of its kind in about a decade at the Marvin Center, Porter said. She said only two similar thefts took place in the past three decades.

The armed robbery sparked new concerns about safety in the Marvin Center.

“As is the case when an incident like this occurs, we will be conducting a thorough review of our security procedures,” according to another University statement read by Porter. “The safety of our students and employees is as always our number one priority.”

UPD Director Dolores Stafford said no one patrols the second floor. She said the Marvin Center is protected by an elaborate security system but said administrators will look at their protocol to ensure they are doing the best they can.

Stafford said no one is stationed on the second floor. She said GW has not determined whether increases in security are needed.

UPD officers are stationed at the H Street and 21st Street entrances after regular business hours, and UPD provides a 24-hour patrol in the Marvin Center. Stafford said the security cameras also make the building safer.

Stafford said UPD officers escort cash throughout the building. She said she estimates there are about 600 cash escorts per month.

A few years ago, administrators decided to station community service aides in the building instead of officers. But UPD officers returned to the building in July because of the recent renovations, Stafford said.

She said the University anticipates the new additions to the Marvin Center will result in heavy traffic and a need for added precaution. Porter said about 10,000 people frequent the center each day.

Stafford said the University will continue to evaluate Marvin Center procedure.

“We’re going to review our current protocol,” she said. “We have to take it one step at a time.”

-Matt Berger and Margaret Magee contributed to this report.

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