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Seton Hall Students, Staff On High Alert After Latest Armed Robbery

An aerial view of the Seton Hall University campus. (Credit: Flickr/Seton Hall University)

An aerial view of the Seton Hall University campus. (Credit: Flickr/Seton Hall University)

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SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (CBS 2) — Staff and students at Seton Hall were on high alert after the armed robbery of two students. It was just the latest crime committed in a community surrounding the prestigious university.

It was a hard lesson in crime outside the gates of Seton Hall. Before they could reach the security card swipe, two students returning to campus found themselves at gunpoint.

It was just before midnight Thursday night when the students said they were approached by two men wearing hooded sweatshirts. One of them pulled out a gun, took their money and ran up the street.

The closest place the students could call for help was just behind a locked fence.

When they sounded the alarm, in this age of interconnectedness, the word spread fast. Phone calls, text messages and e-mails described the suspects: two black men in their late teens or early 20s, one about 5-foot-8 and the other about 6-feet tall.

Some students said the university feels safe, but outside its gates is a different story.

“Newark is right over there; East Orange is right over there,” one student said. “It’s not a good situation to put yourself in.”

“Things like this keep happening,” student Joe Forlini said. “Within a month we’ve had three of these incidents, and this one’s right here, where there should be security constantly.”

South Orange Police Chief James Chelel said the incident was the fourth armed robbery of 2011 — a slower pace than last year — but students remain targets of opportunity, especially if they’re out late and distracted by things like headphones or smart phones.

“Just be aware of your surroundings at all times,” Chief Chelel said. “No matter where you are, you need to be aware of your surroundings.”

A Seton Hall spokesman told CBS 2 that the university is working closely with police to find the suspects.

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