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By Esther Chong

The Western Front

On Tues. April 2, a Western Alert reported that University Police were searching for a suspect in connection with a strong-arm robbery of a “Make America Great Again” hat near Edens Hall around 10 a.m..

The owner of the hat was not a Western student, according to Paul Cocke, director of university communications and marketing.

The suspect was described by University Police as a white, college-age male, who allegedly took the hat from the owner and ran towards the Sehome Arboretum, according to the alert. 

According to Western’s Safety and Emergency Information, Western Alerts are sent when there is an imminent threat to the health and safety of campus, while Campus Advisories are sent when there is a situation of concern.

“The incident in question was a strong-arm robbery, which is considered a crime of violence against a person under state statute,” Cocke said in an email. “Crimes considered an act of violence against a person merit a Western Alert.”

A strong-arm robbery is defined as a robbery where only bodily weapons, such as hands, fists, and feet, are threatened or used, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report Handbook.

A Western Alert involving a strong-arm robbery was also sent to students in 2012. A student was walking home alone when two young men wearing dark hoodies approached her from behind and pushed her to the ground and demanded money, according to Western Today.

In 2016,  another Western Today article described a Western Alert sent to students regarding a stolen phone and other belongings in front of Buchanan Towers residence hall on campus.

The Tuesday alert stated police were searching for the suspect on campus and in the arboretum. According to Cocke, two University Police officers were dispatched in the search.

Another Western Alert was sent around 4 p.m. and stated that the suspect has not been found.

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