The University Record, August 14, 2000

Police and firefighters busier than normal this summer

By Rebecca A. Doyle

DPS officers and local firefighters were called out at about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 8 to battle a fire that broke out on the West Quad roof. Photo by Britt Halvorson
Two fires at the University on August 8 coupled with earlier reports of two armed robberies and a pair of pickpocket incidents kept local firefighters, police and officers from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) busier than normal over the past month.

Several crime alerts—bulletins that are issued campuswide to alert the community of unsolved crimes—have made the community aware of armed robbery and pickpocketing incidents. The crimes are currently still under investigation and members of the University community who may have information on any of them are asked to call DPS at (734) 763-1131.

Armed robbery at Randall Lab

Officers are still searching for a white male described as 18–20 years old, about 150 pounds, wearing a light blue shirt and carrying a backpack. He was accompanied by a white male who is approximately 30 years old and is now in custody in connection with an armed robbery at Randall Lab on Aug. 2. The victim was allegedly approached by two suspects who asked him for directions, then grabbed him by the arms, threatened him with a knife and took his wallet.

DPS is searching for three Black males in connection with two pickpocketing incidents—one at University Hospital and another at Briarwood Mall. At the Hospital, an elderly couple reported that one of the men created a diversion in front of them while the other two suspects allegedly stole items from them.

The first suspect is described as a Black male, 35–50 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, about 250 pounds, with a heavy build and black, medium afro hairstyle cut above the ears. He has a beard and a dark, ruddy complexion and was wearing round, dark-rimmed glasses and a silver ring with a diamond in it on his little finger. He was reported to be wearing a gray suit with a white shirt and yellow and red tie.

The second suspect is a Black male, 20–30 years old, 6 feet tall, with a medium build and shaved head. He was wearing aviator-style sunglasses, a gold colored bracelet on his right wrist, a gold watch on his left wrist and may have had an earring in the left earlobe. His clothing was described as a gray, short-sleeved, button-down rayon shirt and dark pants.

The third suspect is a Black male about 6 feet tall, and about 180 pounds with short, curly brown hair and a medium build. He is reported to have been wearing a yellow, short-sleeved, button-down shirt, and tan or khaki pants.

The three allegedly tried to use credit cards they had stolen to make a cash advance at Briarwood Mall and are reported to have perpetrated a similar crime while there.

West Quad fire causes evacuation of residence hall, Union

On Aug. 7, a fire on the roof of West Quadrangle residence hall forced the evacuation of both West Quad and the nearby Michigan Union while firefighters brought the blaze under control. There were no injuries reported but damage is estimated to be at least $100,000 and may reach $750,000.

West Quad was being used to house approximately 110 participants in U-M’s hockey camp and 30 football players who will be first-year students this fall. All were away from the building at the time of the fire.

The fire affected the roof area of Williams House, a 39-room area on the fifth floor of the building. With student move-in scheduled for Aug. 30, repairs to the damaged area will be a top priority, according to Housing Division officials.

Chemistry Building fire will cost $20,000–$50,000

A fire in a biophysics laboratory in the Chemistry Building resulted in structural, smoke and water damage to the building and to laboratory equipment and furniture. The fire also began on Aug. 7, but earlier in the day than the West Quad fire. Fire officials have determined that the blaze was caused by sparks from equipment that was being used by contractors to repair the outside of the building.

The lab was unoccupied, but warning signs on the door kept Ann Arbor Fire Department officials out of the room until a DPS HazMat (hazardous materials) team could enter the room. No radiation or chemical contamination was found, however, and Ann Arbor firefighters quickly controlled the blaze.

The building was evacuated for more than two hours, but there were no injuries involved. The University’s Risk Management department estimates $10,000 to $20,000 in structural damage. A final estimate of the cost of lost equipment and water damage is not yet available.