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Grand jury indicts man in connection with UA robberies

By Dylan McKinley
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 8, 1999

A man allegedly connected with two campus robberies was indicted by a grand jury last week on 10 criminal charges, concluding a university police investigation of a string of UA crimes.

Eduardo Rafael Rodriguez, 20, of Tucson, was arrested Sept. 20 by the Tucson Police Department in connection with a robbery on the University of Arizona campus.

He was indicted Sept. 30 on two counts of robbery, three counts of armed robbery, three counts of aggravated assault, one count of theft and one count of felony fleeing.

UAPD spokesman Sgt. Michael Smith confirmed yesterday that police believe Rodriguez was involved with two robberies on campus.

But a UAPD release stated that the Pima County Attorney's Office, in charge of prosecution, could not file charges against Rodriguez for other robberies reported on campus in the past month because of insufficient evidence.

"The man had two descriptions," Smith said. "One that stated he was Hispanic and one that stated he was black. In the dark, he could pass for either."

Smith said the number of robberies since the beginning of the semester is unusually high.

"We haven't experienced this many robberies in succession since I've been here," said Smith, who has served on UAPD for six years. "I know of no other rashes of incidents like these on campus - it is strange."

The release stated that the robberies have increased awareness of safety issues at night.

"This incident brought to light the importance of people's individual safety," Smith said. "We just want to make sure that people are utilizing the Safe Ride Program and walking in groups when out at night."

Smith said UAPD officers noticed an increase in the number of people walking in groups since the string of robberies. Since Sept. 20, UAPD has not received any additional robbery reports.

UAPD isn't alone in noticing the rise in safety awareness.

One UA student said she thinks about it every time she walks on campus at night.

"I don't walk alone at night," said Deborah Ward, an environmental sciences freshman. "As long as I am out with some friends, I feel that I am safe."

Another student said before she moved to Tucson, she expected UA students would be safety conscious.

"I pretty much knew that most people would be walking in groups," said undeclared freshman Jackie Wyler. "I don't walk by myself at night, and I hope other people are walking in groups too."

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