University students on look-out for armed robbers

A Crime Alert tonight for the 38111 zip code and the area near the University of Memphis. The area under the alert includes Sam Cooper to the north, Park Avenue to the south, Holmes to the West and Goodlett to the east.

Off-campus fraternity houses are just a stone's throw from where two armed robberies happened. It's enough to keep students and campus officials looking over their shoulders.

Sophomore Max Schirlo was out on the porch of his fraternity house the night of the first robbery.

"We saw all the cop cars driving by, looking for the guy," he said. "And I didn't know at the time but the next day I found out and it kind of scared me because I'd just been sitting out there with one other guy and the guy had a shotgun."

His friends were the first victims.

Campus police say there were two other attacks on the roads near campus. The robberies were carried out by a brazen robber, armed with a shotgun and a getaway car.

Schirlo's friends have been spooked all week.

Police Services Director Bruce Harber says students were notified about the crimes and warned to be vigilant.

"These are not usual or normal crimes in this area and so that's what makes it jump out at us," said Harber.

Memphis police have connected the robberies to three others elsewhere in the area and are busily hunting the suspect and his accomplices.

Meanwhile, Schirlo says his friends are aware of the crimes and are changing their behavior because of them.

"I don't carry any big amount of cash. I don't carry my debit card, I mean, anymore," said Schirlo.

So far, police say the suspects have gotten away with cash, purses, wallets, credit cards and cell phones.

In each of the incidents, a white Plymouth Breeze was used. Police today say they have found the car and they're looking through it for evidence.