Caltech Staffer, Student Among Victims of Strong Arm Robberies, Assault

A wave of at least five strong-arm street robberies and one assault surged through Pasadena Thursday into Friday morning. Two of the incidents targeted members of the Caltech community, according to police.

A Caltech staff member was attacked by a group of men as he was walking early Friday morning off-campus on Blanche Street approaching Wilson Avenue, according to a Caltech security bulletin.

He was punched in the face and body, suffering cuts and abrasions, but was not seriously injured. No property was taken from him.

In another incident near Del Mar Boulevard and Hudson Avenue, an international student was beaten during a street robbery. His backpack, laptop and wallet were taken, according to a second Caltech security bulletin.

Earlier Thursday night, around 9 p.m., in two separate incidents only blocks apart, individuals walking with their cellphones were robbed of phones and other possessions.

The man victimized on Oak Knolls near Green Street made his way to Colorado Boulevard, where he attracted the attention of an employee at the Nine & Nine restaurant, who saw his bloodied face.

The good samaritan brought him ice and got him to sit at a patio table until emergency responders arrived. He did not require hospitalization.

On nearby El Molino at California, a woman was also robbed of her cellphone, according to Pasadena Police Lt. William Grisafe.

"Both victims were walking on the street with their phone in their hand. At some point, subjects came up from behind them, assaulted them and took their phones, and fled," Grisafe said.

The Oak Knolls victim did not see the attackers, but believes there were two, because he heard two distinct voices, Grisafe said.

In two of the incidents, suspected getway cars were seen. A silver Mercedes Benz was seen leaving one of the robberies; two apparently different vehicles from the assault on Blanche.

The other two robberies occured in the 1300 block of Colorado Boulevard, not far from Pasadena City College, and in the north 1400 block of Raymond Avenue.

Pasadena had been hit by another wave of street robberies earlier this year in February. What prompted this resurgence is not clear to police, who believe the same crew may be responsible for a number of the incidents, but not all.

The targeting of victims appears to be opportunistic.

"The two victims from the Caltech area were both Asian," said Grisafe. "But other than that, there's no indication that they're targeting anybody in particular."

For those who walk, especially at night and alone, Grisafe said it is important to maintain situational awareness.

Police are in contact with Caltech and the Institute's security is increasing security patrols, including near off campus housing, one bulletin stated.

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