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Columbia Public Safety

Four armed men robbed and assaulted a tenant in graduate student housing on Monday. These security camera images were released by Public Safety on Tuesday.

Four armed men broke into a Columbia apartment late Monday night and assaulted and robbed a tenant.

The robbery occurred at around 10:20 p.m. at 535 W. 111th St., a building that houses graduate students, according to a Public Safety report released Tuesday.

DNAinfo reported that the assailants hit one of the tenants with a blunt object and stole a phone and some cash. The victim was taken to St. Luke's Hospital for treatment and later released.

Police were out in force in the hour following the incident. At the scene, half a dozen detectives were discussing the possibility that one of the weapons used was thrown into a nearby gutter. Officers were still outside the building the next morning.

Residents of the building said Tuesday that they didn't know anything was going on at the time.

"It's really unexpected," said Soyeon Park, GSAS '16, who hadn't heard about the incident. "I have no idea how people would get in. The fact that it was armed makes it scarier."

Unlike undergraduate housing, there is no security desk at the apartments at 535 W. 111th St. Residents enter with a key, and guests can be buzzed up. It's not clear how the perpetrators gained access.

"I guess that I would maybe expect some better security, especially given how close it is to campus," Park said.

A tenant of the building who asked not to be named said that while there is adequate security at the building, some residents have gotten too lax.

"A lot of the grad students are understandably blithe," he said, adding that tenants buzz people in without recognizing them. "The intercom system is pretty old. It's often indistinct who's buzzing in."

Residents also prop open the interior front door, he said.

"In a sense, Columbia does a wonderful job in terms of creating a security bubble in this neighborhood, but that doesn't mean it's immune," the tenant said.

If you have any information about the incident, call the New York Police Department's 26th Precinct detective squad at 212-678-1351.

Luke Barnes contributed reporting.

news@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ColumbiaSpec

Assault robbery St. Luke's Hospital Columbia Housing
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