Two indicted in Union College robbery
Police say stolen iPhone led them to teen suspects
SCHENECTADY Two teenagers have been indicted in connection with a robbery and assault of a student on the Union College campus in November, authorities said.
Authorities were ultimately led to the suspects by tracking the student’s stolen iPhone, according to a prosecutor.
The robbery happened on Nov. 12 as the student was walking on campus, according to prosecutor William Sanderson of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s office.
The suspects are accused of attacking the 19-year-old student from behind and then punching him.
The alleged assailants then went through the student’s pockets, found his iPhone, took it and fled on foot.
The student quickly alerted campus security, who then called in city police. The student, who suffered minor injuries, had a good description of the suspects and gave police the direction they fled.
Officials were also able to use a security feature on the phone, Find my iPhone, and track it via the Internet.
That led police quickly to the Vale neighborhood where they spotted two teens who matched the description given by the student. When police went to speak with them, one fled and threw the iPhone aside, police said.
Arrested at the scene and charged with robbery was 19-year-old Dwight J. House of Germania Avenue. House has since been indicted on one count of third-degree robbery, a felony. He is to be arraigned in the coming days.
Deontaye Miller, 17, of Foster Avenue, has also been indicted. He was arraigned Wednesday on charges of felony robbery and assault.
Union College spokesman Phil Wajda noted Wednesday that campus security responded quickly and worked with city police to catch the suspects.
Wajda also said such instances on campus are rare. He pointed to crime statistics that all colleges must keep and make available. Those show one robbery on campus in 2010, none in 2011, one in 2012 and the November robbery in 2013.
“We always encourage students to have situational awareness,” Wajda said.
The incident also happened about a month after two juveniles were charged with taking at least 16 cellphones from the college’s Memorial Field House locker room. The theft also included a half-dozen pairs of headphones, two pairs of sunglasses, a watch and more than $500 in cash.
Those thefts happened while the college’s men’s lacrosse team was playing against Hartwick College.
The November robbery is also at least the second time phone theft suspects have been tracked using the Find my iPhone feature.
In September, a couple attending a wedding downtown realized their iPhones were taken from their car. They alerted police and officers were able to track the phone to a store at the corner of State and Hulett streets. There, officers found a customer in possession of both phones, and arrested him for possessing stolen property.
In the November Union College case, Miller was indicted on charges of second-degree robbery and second-degree assault, felonies. The assault charge was increased to a felony because it was during the commission of a robbery, Sanderson said.
Miller also faces charges for allegedly taking an iPhone on Dec. 12 in Mont Pleasant from a 14-year-old. The victim in that case had a partial name for Miller, which helped police find him, Sanderson said. It was unclear if the Find my iPhone app was used in that case.
Both Miller and House remain in custody.