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Four face charges in connection with cell phone robberies

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Monday, December 21, 2009

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Media Contact: Kristin Sullivan, Office:817-272-5364, Cell:817-706-9811, kristinsul@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - UT Arlington police have arrested a fourth area teen in connection with a series of November cell phone robberies in which students were approached, asked for their cell phones and then punched in the face.

The 16-year-old from Arlington turned himself in to campus police Monday, Dec. 21, and was taken to the Tarrant County Juvenile Detention Center.

The teen faces a charge of juvenile delinquency in connection with a Nov. 22 incident outside the Maple Square Apartments, 400 S. Oak St., in which a UT Arlington student was punched in the face. The assailant then took the student's backpack, laptop computer and wallet.

Monday's arrest fulfilled four warrants police obtained for teens suspected in the series of robberies.

Previously, police arrested Atulu Nagee Freeman and Arthur L. Foley, both 17, and Javon Romell Weston, 19. The three older teens are suspected of being involved in two incidents that occurred Nov. 19, police say. They face charges of robbery and theft.

In this first episode, two students were approached after 10:30 p.m. in Lot F-13, 200 W. Third St., by three teens and asked for their cell phones. When one student handed over his iPhone, one suspect punched him in the face.

The next incident happened about 11:15 p.m. at 412 S. Cooper, in the Forest Glen Apartments parking lot. In that case, two suspects asked a victim for his cell phone, then fled when the victim handed over the phone.

The robberies and thefts occurred between Nov. 5 and Nov. 25. No similar incidents have been reported since.

In response, campus police stepped up patrols, publicized information about the incidents and urged members of the UT Arlington community to avoid walking alone on campus at night and to be alert to strangers approaching them.

University police also note that many cell phones are equipped with GPS tracking devices that can help identify stolen units when a cell phone provider is notified of such a crime. Cell phone owners should record the serial number of their phones in a safe place to help in finding a stolen unit.

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