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Police find no evidence for alleged assault, robbery of student on campus

<p>Mary Erin Porter Complex. Archival photo from The Cluster.</p>

Mary Erin Porter Complex. Archival photo from The Cluster.

Police have found no evidence for the alleged assault of a student on campus that prompted a University-wide safety alert to be sent out in December.

An investigation and video analysis into the event has concluded that the male student who claimed he was hit in the face and robbed by a man in front of Mary Erin Porter hall on Dec. 9 was not speaking accurately to Mercer Police when he made his allegations.

[pullquote]“We trust students above all else, and we want them to trust us. If you came in and told us you got robbed, we’re going to go with it until we find otherwise.” -Gary Collins, Chief of Mercer Police[/pullquote]

Officer Mike Kondorf with the Mercer Police Department said video surveillance tapes show no record of the incident taking place, and none of the witnesses on the scene at the time recalled seeing any disturbances.

The student initially claimed he chased the perpetrator down Montpelier Avenue past Mercer Village around 3:45 p.m., then later changed his story to say he ran through the quad, Kondorf said.

The student also offered conflicting accounts as to whether his wallet was forcibly stolen from his pocket or picked up off the ground, as well as whether he was hit in the face or shoved. No visible injuries were sustained, Kondorf said.

“Given the time of day that the incident supposedly occurred, the conflicting stories from the victim, the lack of video evidence and the fact that no witnesses on the scene saw anything happening, we’re led to believe that the incident likely did not happen,” Kondorf said.

Kondorf said the student’s father contacted Mercer Police shortly after the incident, and that the student did not return to campus after the winter break.

Mercer Police Chief Gary Collins said that while the student may have been confused or dishonest about what actually happened, police were correct in sending out a safety alert via e-mail and text messaging based upon the information they had at the time.

“We trust students above all else, and we want them to trust us. If you came in and told us you got robbed, we’re going to go with it until we find otherwise,” Collins said. “We can always correct the alerts later, but it’s better to send them out and be wrong than to not send them out at all and risk other students being in danger.”

The safety alert is one of two such alerts that have been sent out by Mercer Police this academic year.

The other alert was sent out in January after a student was allegedly robbed at gunpoint off Mercer University Drive near the Hilton Garden Inn.

Please notify Mercer Police at 301-HELP (4357) whenever you see any people acting suspicious- ly on campus.

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