(UPDATED) Armed robbery occurs behind Cooperstown Apartments

By Kenny Colston

Two UK students were held at gunpoint during an armed robbery at the corner of Oldham Court and Cooperstown Drive late Friday night, UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said.

As of Sunday, the suspects had yet to be apprehended.

On Friday, around 9:22 p.m., UK Police received a report of an armed robbery behind Cooperstown Apartments on UK’s campus. Two men brandishing pistols demanded the students’ personal belongings. After the victims handed over money and cell phones, the suspects fled toward Euclid Avenue.

A UK Alert was issued around 10:20 p.m. The alert guided people to visit www.uky.edu for more information, but information was not available on the Web site until after 11:40 p.m. During the time between the original alert and the university Web site being updated, UK Police was flooded with calls, Monroe said. He was unable to estimate how many calls the agency received.

The difference in time between the UK Alert and posting information on the university’s Web site comes down to how much information is needed for each component, UK spokeswoman Kathy Johnson said.

The UK Alert needs only the very basic information — in this instance, the initial report the armed robbery occurred — whereas small details such as location and descriptions of the suspects are needed to put something on the university’s Web site, Johnson said. As for Friday’s instance, the UK Alert was sent out before all the information was given to public relations officials to put on the Web site, causing the lapse between the initial report and information being put on the Web site.

In order to get information on the university’s Web site, UK Police must first give all the details of the incident to the public relations person in charge. That person may possibly rewrite the information and get it approved by Monroe for accuracy before posting it on the Web site. Such a process takes time, Johnson said.

Because of the longer time frame, Johnson said a discussion will take place this week about changing the message in the UK Alert system so those who receive the e-mails, text messages or phone calls will not be immediately directed to the UK Web site. Johnson said the message may be changed to point alert recipients toward the Web site within an hour or so.

“We do the best we can as quickly as we can,” Johnson said. “We take crime bulletins very seriously. But the time discrepancy is because we use UK Alert to let people know of information immediately and the extra information comes later on the Web site.”

DanceBlue, a dance marathon with more than 600 students participating as a fundraiser for UK Hospital’s oncology clinic, was on-going during this time. Monroe said public relations spokespeople were at the event and had made the participants aware of the situation. Monroe said those in participation at DanceBlue were not in immediate danger.

The suspects are around 5-foot-11 in height with medium builds, wearing black or gray masks and dark long-sleeved clothing, Monroe said. He asked anyone with information to contact UK Police with tips at (859) 257-1616.

While campus was not in immediate danger, Monroe still encouraged people on campus to travel in groups.

“Always be aware of your surroundings,” Monroe said. “Travel in groups of friends and well-lit areas. Use the escort services on campus, just like any other night on campus.”

The first screenshot:

The second screenshot:

A screenshot of how the Web site looks with the crime bulletin: