Two Lehigh students robbed at gunpoint on Birkel Avenue


Two students were robbed at gunpoint on the 500 block of Birkel Avenue at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, according to an email from Lehigh University Police Department chief Edward Shupp.

No one was injured and the suspect took a cellphone and cash. The email describes the suspect as “a thinly built male wearing a dark-colored hoodie and light-colored pants.”

The Bethlehem Police Department, with help from LUPD, is leading the investigation.

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1 Comment

  1. I just posted this to the story from last year about Jeanne Ann Clery and the 30th anniversary of her death because I just saw the article, but I feel that it is relevant here also:

    In the fall of 1989, 3 1/2 years after Jeanne Ann Clery’s death, I was a junior and an assistant hall director of Lower Centennial, the dorm that she was murdered in. Over the summer, locks with key card access were installed on all hall and dorm entrances. Prior to that only individual rooms had locks and keys. The Hall Director, me and the Gryphons had to explain repeatedly why these were needed. Everyone hated it, because it was inconvenient and you could not just “pop-in” to say “Hi” to friends. Everyone who knew Jeanne Ann had graduated and could not relate. Institutional memory is short. The new students did not know the difference but all of the upper classes students complained to them. As the Assistant Hall Director, I supported the rules publicly (without a lot of conviction), but privately with, my friends from the soccer team and my sorority sisters at Gamma Phi Beta, I expressed my frustration. I thought it was a waste of time and money because people would get in anyway. I, like most students and parents, had a “not at my school” mentality, even in the face of a recent murder and rape. I wish that Lehigh was forced to show a documentary about Jeanne Ann and other similar instances to bring it closer to home to all students. It may not have made a difference because I was young and immature (even though I did not think so at the time).

    Last year was my 25 year reunion at Lehigh. I am now a parent, an emergency physician and leader of disaster and emergency planning, preparedness and response programs within schools and universities. I am shocked on a regular basis as to how little students, parents, administrators and teachers know about emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness, and response, until something tragic happens. The risk is low, but when it happens to you, your friends or your community, it does not matter what the risk was in the past, you are 100% impacted.

    Here are some facts:

    1. In the past 3 days, there was a shooting at the University of Washington 1/20/2017 with 4 people shot and a separate instance at West Liberty High School in Ohio where 2 people were shot on 1/20/2014.

    2. Security IS inconvenient BUT it is also more important than your inconvenience. It is everyone’s job to take security seriously and focus on measures to keep your friends, fellow-students, professors, co-workers and staff safe– it takes a village. Tragedies happen infrequently and the inconvenience is daily. We tend to focus on the inconvenience and forget the risk of tragedies, until one happens. If you or your child is the one that lets a gunman, murderer or rapist into your dorm, living unit, office, sorority or fraternity, how bad would you feel for the REST OF YOUR LIFE?

    3. Not letting someone into your building, reporting suspicious activity, speaking to a school official about someone being harassed or someone who is depressed, suicidal or homicidal takes time, effort and involvement. It is much easier to ignore it and not get involved.

    4. Lehigh administrators are conflicted in this area. They want to keep the students, staff and faculty safe, but they also do not want to publicize gaps, mistakes and tragedies because they are concerned about enrollment and reputation. There needs to be an opposing force that pushed Lehigh to take uncomfortable and/or costly actions. This force needs to come from the Lehigh community itself. We were lucky that the Clery family became safety and security advocates after their daughters death instead of curling up into a ball and giving up. I am convinced that more people would have died, been sexually assaulted and/or harmed without the programs, advocacy and laws at which they worked tirelessly the past 30 years!

    I loved Lehigh while I was there and I still love it. In fact, I met my husband, Eric Close, in Pittsburgh 10 years later through fellow alumni, and he also graduated from Lehigh in 1991. I want us as a community and as individuals to thank the Clery Family for all of their hard work and sacrifice by ACTING:

    I challenge the students, professors, administration, parents and alumni to do the following:
    1. Re-frame your thoughts so that every time you tell someone that you can not let him or her in to your office, dorm, living quarters, state to yourself and/or the person, “I am doing this because I want my friends, family and everyone around me to be safe. I am sorry about the inconvenience, but it is important and necessary.

    2. Look for opportunities to improve the systems at Lehigh for protecting and responding to disasters and emergencies. If you see a broken lock, report it. If you see a door propped, un-prop it. If you see something concerning, including students not adjusting well or emotionally having issues, report it…

    3. Lastly, prepare yourself and your environment for emergencies and disasters. Does Lehigh have a process for mass notifications through texts or emails? Are there cameras at entrances and if yes, how is the data monitored and saved? Do you know the crime statistics on your campus? There is an explosion of technology in this sector to help prevent and mitigate emergencies and disasters. How advanced is Lehigh?

    If a student or student group is interested in forming a committee, club or task force to look into these issues and/or creating a video documenting the Jeanne Ann Clery story and resulting laws/changes, I would be more than happy to help. I live just afew hours away in the Pittsburgh area.

    4. Everyone should subscribe to the FREE Campus Safety Magazine which should be laying around all common areas on Lehigh’s campus (I have no affiliation with Campus Safety Magazine).

    Stay Safe- Kelly Buller Close MD, MPH ’91

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