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CPD investigating armed robbery near MU campus

Columbia police are investigating an armed robbery that happened just before 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the 1100 block of Hamilton Way, near the University of Missouri campus.

Police say two women were walking home when they were approached by a black man in his late twenties with a heavy build.

The women told police the man showed a gun and demanded money. The women gave the suspect an undisclosed amount of money and fled the scene.

The victims weren’t injured in the robbery and police say the investigation is ongoing.

University of Missouri students and faculty received an early morning phone call, along with texts and emails, alerting them of the robbery near campus. Pat Scott, an MU senior living on Hamilton Way, said he saw the call around 3 a.m., but didn’t pick it up since he didn’t recognize the number.

“[I] woke up and I had the email, the text, and I’m reading all this and think, ‘Wow, this was on our street,'” Scott said.

Other MU students ABC 17 News spoke to had never received a phone call from MU Alert. The robotic call went out to those on the alert system between 3 and 3:15 a.m.

“Columbia Police working armed robbery near campus. Refer to local media. Take precautions. MU Alert will be updated shortly,” the voice said in a voice mail left on one person’s phone.

MU Alert’s website featured an update at 4 a.m. on the robbery, explaining the details and the suspect description. Columbia police sent a news release to media outlets at 9:37 a.m.

The seemingly new method of notifying the MU community came five days after the school apologized for sending an alert late related to the shooting at Hitt Street Garage. Officers with the city and University shot and killed a robbery suspect on April 15, after police say he “engaged” officers there. An alert came out an hour after CPD said an officer shot the suspect, causing some students to worry about the timely fashion alerts are sent.

For Scott, though, timeliness mattered less to him than accuracy.

“They want to have a lot of information before they send out this mass text to 30,000-plus people, so, in that regard, 45 minutes later doesn’t really bother me,” Scott said.

If you have any information, you’re asked to call Columbia Police or Crime Stoppers at 573-875-TIPS to remain anonymous.

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