Armed Robbery at Parking Kiosk
A man armed with a pistol robbed a parking attendant in the paid-parking visitor lot between Bldgs. 1 and 31 around 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, then escaped on foot in the direction of Rockville Pike.
Parking staff noticed the suspect loitering suspiciously in the lot for about 10 minutes prior to the hold-up, sitting on a planter and wandering around. When pedestrians left the area, he approached the Parking Lot 4A kiosk brandishing a small-caliber handgun and demanded, "Give me the money or I'll shoot you," said Det. Sgt. Jody Luke of the NIH Police. The attendant handed over an undisclosed sum, and the bandit ran off. "The uniformed division responded and searched the area, but found no clues. The K-9 unit also joined the search," said Det. Scott Noullet.
The NIH Police are interested in talking to anyone who may have seen the suspect, described as a Hispanic male in his mid-twenties, between 5'7" and 5'9", olive complexion, black T-shirt with unknown lettering on the front and black pants, and with a wandering left eye. His gun was described as a dark blue or black automatic, possibly .22 or .25 caliber. Anyone who may have seen this person is asked to call the police at 496-3211.
"Violent crimes are really rare at NIH," noted Luke. "There have only been two in the 10 years I've been here." The last armed robbery on campus he could recall was an incident in early 1998 involving an employee held up at gunpoint while walking home in the vicinity of the Medical Center Metro stop. No one was injured in that crime, and it was too dark for the victim to identify the suspect.
Luke said the incidence of crime on campus appears to be down this summer, mirroring national trends. The typical crime reported to NIH Police involves theft of purses and personal items left unattended by employees, he said.
The company that runs NIH's parking concession Colonial Parking, Inc. is adopting new security measures, noted Luke. "I understand they are evaluating their own security, including changes in how often they deposit receipts," he said.
Employees are urged to use caution at all times while on campus, noted Jim Sweat, director, Division of Public Safety. "This event is a reminder that the NIH campus, unfortunate as it may seem, is now, more than ever, likely to suffer many of the same crimes as the surrounding jurisdiction."
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