NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – There are security concerns at a college in Queens after an armed robbery in a bathroom. The thief, a teenage male, allegedly infiltrated the school and threatened an 11-year-old student with a knife.
Parents dropping their children off at Robert A. Van Wyck High School on 144th Street were on high alert Monday after the child was robbed at the tip of a knife, CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reported.
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“It gives me anxiety about having to abandon my son at school and not knowing that he is safe, that it could have happened to him,” said Gina Cepeda.
An email warned parents to be extra careful after police said the suspect managed to clear school security on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities also released a sketch of the suspect.
Investigators said he pointed a knife at the student’s chest and demanded money. The student said he didn’t have one, so the suspect grabbed his water bottle and left, police said.
The student was not physically injured, but parents were unsure if he had since returned to school.
“How can someone get past security?” Cepeda said.
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“I think they should take more security precautions with IDs and the like, and make sure they know who is entering the building,” Serenity Everett said.
School officials did not say how the suspect entered the building. A spokesperson for the Department of Education said CBS2 security guards responded quickly and the department was working with the NYPD to keep the building safe.
“Maybe the system is there, but it has to be put into practice properly,” said Ruel Biswas.
Minutes after the school toilet was robbed, police said the suspect approached a 51-year-old man on 149th Street and started arguing with him. The suspect allegedly pulled out a knife and attempted to throw himself at the man’s throat. The man told police the suspect had nicked him and cut his jacket. He said the suspect threw a bottle of water at him and fled.
Police obtained a surveillance image of the suspect at a grocery store on Parsons Boulevard. He is described as being 5 feet, 2 inches, and 110 pounds.
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Anyone with information is urged to call the New York Police Crime Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip through their website or through DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.