Three people have been arrested, and one is being sought, in connection with a recent string of Morgantown area armed robberies and burglaries, Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said.
“This was not something directed at West Virginia University students, these were not random acts targeting students,” Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said.
According to the Morgantown Police Department, officers and detectives have been investigating a series of five armed robberies and seven burglaries that occurred between Nov. 1 and Dec. 8. Search warrants were served at various locations, which resulted in the recovery of stolen property and evidence linking the following suspects to the crimes:
• Darrell Strozier, 20, of Morgantown, arrested and charged with three counts of first degree robbery and two counts of burglary.
• Christopher Brown, 24, of Morgantown, charged with receiving stolen goods.
• Daven Patrick, 24, of Morgantown, charged with carrying a deadly weapon and person prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Detectives are currently searching for Matthew Lee Farmer, 23, of Morgantown. Farmer is wanted for five counts of armed robbery and seven counts of burglary. Farmer is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weights approximately 215 pounds. Farmer has a cross tattoo under his left eye and is considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone who has information about Farmer’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately.
“These individuals are related to every armed robbery, burglary we have had since Nov. 1,” Preston said, noting that includes recent robberies on Mason Street, Walnut Street and Brockway Avenue, where students were notified.
“It was a group doing it, not necessarily the whole group at once. Various members of the group would do various things. Maybe two would do a burglary, another two would do another burglary, and all would participate in a robbery,” Preston said. “This group is responsible for all the string of robberies and burglaries that happened over a relatively short period of time,” he said.
“Right now, the most important thing is trying to locate Matthew Farmer.”
WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts offered these tips to keep students out of harm’s way in light of recent situations.
• Make sure that you have a peephole on your front door to visualize the entrance to your apartment or home in any situation, not just a robbery situation.
• Make sure there is a light outside your door to illuminate the area of the entrance to your apartment or home to make it easier to visualize a potential threat.
• Make sure to have a sturdy lock, preferably a dead bolt, on all doors in your apartment or house that lead to the outside.
If your off-campus apartment or house is not equipped with these, contact your landlord and request these necessary safety precautions be taken.
If you are concerned that a robbery threat exists, Roberts advised calling 911 immediately. In addition, he offered the following tips for personal safety:
• If possible, always note the description of the people attempting to rob you: height, weight, hair, skin color, facial hair, scars, tattoos, pants, shirt, jacket, shoes, etc., and alert police as soon as possible. Quick reporting and a good description may give the police the information needed to apprehend the suspect.
• If you are approached or attacked, get away as quickly as possible and get help. Don’t stay and fight.
• If you are the victim of a robbery, follow the instructions of the robber. Never do anything or take any action that may increase your risk of being a victim of physical violence.
• Store valuables in a safe, hard to find location (like a safe). Remember that the motive in most robberies is to steal, and once the perpetrators have what they want, they will leave. Comply with their requests and remember that money, jewelry and other valuables can be replaced.
Additional safety tips for incidents other than robberies can be found at http://police.wvu.edu/.
If you are suspicious of a threat to your personal safety or the safety of others, you can use the LiveSafe App to alert police. For more information and to download the app for Apple and Android devices, visit: http://police.wvu.edu/special-services/livesafe.
WVU also sends out a text alert to warn those subscribed to the service of dangerous situations. If you do not receive WVU text alerts, visit: http://emergency.wvu.edu/alert/.
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