Robbers take student’s iPod at gunpoint

T.J. Gerlach

After being robbed at gunpoint on campus, one Missouri Southern student is a bit more cautious these days.

Paul McMillan, freshman mass communication major and staff writer for The Chart, had his iPod stolen Jan. 12 just north of the tunnel under Newman Road. He said now he always tries to walk with someone and looks over his shoulder more often.

“When I got robbed, it was in broad daylight,” McMillan said.

He said the incident shows some people are not afraid to commit crimes.

McMillan said the robbery took place around 4 or 4:30 p.m. Jan. 12.

“I was walking back from the bookstore with my books in my backpack,” McMillan said. “And as soon as I exited out the tunnel on the side of the dorms, four black guys came up to me and surrounded me.”

McMillan said one of the men pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. The man then said, “Yo, what you got?”

“Then one of his friends padded me down like he was searching for a wallet or my phone,” McMillan said.

He said the man was not able to find anything because he was wearing basketball shorts that had no pockets.

“The guy with the gun reached into the pocket of my hoodie and then he stole my iPod,” McMillan said. “And then after he had the iPod secure in his hand, he hit me in the jaw with the butt end of the handle of the gun.”

McMillan said his wallet, cell phone and some other valuables were in his backpack, which the men did not search.

He said after the man with the gun hit him, the four looked at each other before running and jumping into a car and driving off.

He described the car as a black Chevy Impala or Malibu with factory chrome wheels, dark window tint and out-of-state license plates.

Alexis Mallory, senior speech communication major, saw the car driving around campus that afternoon.

Mallory had just returned to Joplin and was taking care of some business in the Billingsly Student Center.

“As soon as I pulled onto Missouri Southern’s campus [I noticed] a black car full of a bunch of guys,” she said.

She said she saw the car circle campus about five or six times.

McMillan said after the men got in their car, he waited for them to drive off before pulling out his cell phone and calling the Joplin Police department.

Mallory said when she returned to the residence hall side of campus, she saw McMillan talking to the police.

McMillan described the men as being between 5’10” and 6’2″ and all had slim to muscular builds.

“One (of the men) kind of looked familiar,” McMillan said. “But I couldn’t put a place to him ­- where I’ve seen him at. It’s very likely that they could be college students; they looked around 18, 19, 20 years old.”

He said the case is currently under investigation and the charges would be armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

McMillan said before the one man pulled the gun out, he thought the four were just joking with him and trying to scare him.

“And then when they pulled the gun on me I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I could get shot,'” he said. “Then, after that I was just terrified. I mean I didn’t even leave my dorm for about a day. And then after the terrifying part left me I was just really, really mad.”

McMillan said if he could give advice to anyone that may find themselves in a similar situation, he would tell them not to fight back.

“All my friends, they’ve been telling me how they would have fought back,” he said. “I said that, too, before that happened to me, but when you actually have a gun pulled on you, and pointed at your face, you change your mind immediately. You just want to comply with what they want to do and just pray that you don’t get seriously injured.”

If anyone has any information on this incident, please call the Department of Public Safety or JPD.