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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Police jail 2 accused of robbing 4 UA students

    Two suspects who police say robbed four UA students on campus early Sunday morning have been arrested.

    Steven Matthew Baker, 17, and James Justin Tarazon, 19, were arrested around 3:30 a.m. Sunday after four students were robbed, one of them struck with brass knuckles.

    Sgt. Eugene Mejia, University of Arizona Police Department spokesman, said three students, a male and two females, were walking to their residence halls around 2 a.m. at East Sixth Street and North Mountain Avenue when Baker and Tarazon, both Tucson residents, approached them and demanded money.

    The male student stepped in front of the two female students to protect them and was struck by Tarazon with brass knuckles. The student received minor injuries, Mejia said.

    UAPD officers were investigating the first robbery when a second robbery was reported in the area of North Martin Avenue and East First Street.

    A male student, who was also walking home, was confronted by the suspects and robbed. The suspects then fled and police found one in the surrounding area. The second suspect was found shortly thereafter, Mejia said.

    Police have not released the names of the four students.

    Baker has been charged with robbery, armed robbery, criminal damage, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

    Tarazon has been charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and contributing to the delinquency of a dependent minor. Tarazon also had a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear in a misdemeanor case.

    Both are being held in the Pima County Sheriff’s Detention Facility on $15,000 bail.

    Mejia said police are continuing to investigate whether Tarazon and Baker have been involved in other crimes. He said the two might have continued to target the campus area if they had not been caught.

    “”They had not left the area after the first incident – there’s a good chance they would have stayed on campus,”” he said.

    Mejia said the group of three students was doing everything right when it was robbed. The students were walking in a group and were in a well-lit and well-traveled area.

    Mejia said crimes are more likely to happen during later hours, but typically students feel safe walking on campus at night because violent crimes on campus are rare.

    “”They didn’t do anything wrong, but safety tips aren’t a guarantee,”” he said. “”Chances are that a suspect won’t target a large group in a well lit area, but there is that rare suspect who will take the chance.””

    Students should take precautions and be aware of their surroundings, especially late at night, Mejia said.

    “”If you see unusual or suspicious behavior, call police immediately,”” he said.

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