String of robberies hits campuses

A robber stole laptops from two Florida A&M University students at gunpoint Wednesday morning near the Paddyfoote complex.

Around 2:30 a.m., Chantey Sessomes sat in a group of eight students on the steps near Paddyfoote listening to music from laptops.

Seven other people were also in the area, said Sessomes, 18, a freshman business administration student from Baltimore. A lone male stood near the group on his cell phone, but Sessomes said he did not alert the students’ suspicions.

The robber then approached the students and pulled out his gun as he walked behind them.

Sessomes said he put his weapon to the backs of the students holding the laptops. Although Sessomes and her friend owned the laptops, neither one held the computers at the time of the robbery.

After attaining them, “He said, ‘thank you’ and took off jogging,” Sessomes said. The robber then jumped into a nearby silver car.

The students called FAMU PD, of which officers had just patrolled the area 15 minutes before the incident.

Assistant FAMU PD Police Chief James W. Lockley Jr., said the robber must have observed the officers leave before he struck.

From the police report, Lockley said the suspect was a black male with dreadlocks and a rough beard.

He said anyone who has information regarding the suspect should call FAMU PD.

Unfortunately the victims of the Paddyfoote incident are not alone.

An outbreak of robberies has occurred recently on Tallahassee campuses, leading officials from the police departments of FAMU, Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College and the city of Tallahassee to work together to capture the criminals and make sure students are safe.

FSU PD Assistant Chief of Police Thomas Longo said FSU has seen an increase in robberies starting last week.

There is not a trend in the type of student victims, Longo said, “but many of the suspects are armed with handguns.”

Similarly to FAMU PD efforts, FSU PD officials have issued crime alerts to students and are giving out all of the information they can release.

Lockley said FAMU PD is collaborating with TPD, FSU PD and TCC to find out if individuals are “swinging from campus to campus committing crimes.”

“We want to keep these ‘thugs’ off campus,” Lockley added.

FAMU PD is especially proactive during homecoming week, which has a higher probability of crime, said Lockley and Officer of Crime Prevention Sherri Luke.

Most crimes during this time involve outsiders coming on FAMU’s campus, Luke said.

“More people means more activity and an increased chance of anything happening-especially concentrated in a small area.

Criminal activity in the city filters to the campuses,” Luke said.

When criminals target college campuses, Luke said college police departments notify each other and TPD.

FAMU PD wants to “put the word out” about the recent crimes to prevent the campus from becoming vulnerable, Luke said.

The University police department created flyers to inform FAMU students stating: “The suspects appear to target victims of opportunity. Please be mindful of your surroundings at all times.”

Lockley said students have a role in keeping the campus safe by looking out for suspicious happenings and calling FAMU PD.

“This is a safe campus,” Lockley said. “We (FAMU PD) obviously can’t be everywhere, but if you assist us in helping – like the Neighborhood Watch – we can make it safer.”

Lockley urges students to contact FAMU PD if they notice anything suspicious on campus.

“Call us,” Lockley said. “Assist us in helping you-be our eyes and our ears.”

Although some FAMU students feel safer in the small town of Tallahassee, Lockley said he does not want students to let their guard down.

He said students should understand crime also happens here.

“This is no different from the various homes and towns you come from.”

Contact Ebonie Ledbetter at