Columbia police investigating two robberies reported over weekend in Five Points

nophillips@thestate.comOctober 28, 2013 

— Two robberies were reported over the weekend in Columbia’s embattled Five Points district.

In both cases, the robberies involved teen-aged victims and happened in the early morning hours. Police are trying to determine whether the robberies are connected, said Jennifer Timmons, a Columbia Police Department spokeswoman.

In one case, a 19-year-old man reported that he was leaving Five Points around 1 a.m. Sunday when he was held at gunpoint in the 2300 block of Greene Street, near the railroad tracks, according to a Columbia Police Department incident report. He told police that two men approached him with a gun and demanded he give up “whatever he had on him,” the report said.

The 19-year-old gave the robbers $45 and his black Samsung Galaxy 4S phone, the report said. The robbers ran away in an unknown direction.

The victim told police that he “was in fear of his life,” the report said.

The other robbery happened about 3:20 a.m. Saturday when two men reported that they had been robbed while walking in alley off the 700 block of Saluda Avenue in Five Points.

In that case, an 18-year-old told police that he first was approached by a man at the corner of Devine and Harden streets. The man asked the 19-year-old if he was a University of South Carolina student and what year he was, the incident report said.

The 18-year-old told police he answered the man’s questions and then caught up with his 19-year-old friend. The two were cutting through an alley near a Saluda Avenue bar when the man followed them.

The victims told police that they asked the man, “Did you need something?” and then the man ordered them to “empty your pockets,” the incident report said.

The victims handed the man $12 and an iPhone 5, the report said.

The victims walked home and then decided to call police almost 20 minutes after the robbery occurred.

Responding officers wrote on the incident report that the victims “were extremely uncooperative,” the report said.

Timmons said she did not know whether the victims were USC students.

Less than two weeks ago, USC President Harris Pastides warned students that Five Points was not safe after midnight. Over the weekend, the university began offering shuttles between campus and Five Points to help students get home safely.

Anyone with information on the robberies should call S.C. Crimestoppers at 1-888-274-6373.

Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.

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