Classic Signals: Robbers threaten student with hook knife

By Emmy Liederman
Features Editor 

For many students at the College, safety does not seem to be a concern — students feel comfortable roaming the campus alone at any time and even sometimes leave their dorm rooms unlocked. But in February of 1980, a Travers resident was held at knifepoint, robbed and physically abused by two men after declining to give them marijuana. The men showed the security desk a non-Travers room key with no form of identification, and signed in for a room number that did not exist, yet they were still let in. Although this case is almost 40 years old, it raises the question whether campus safety should remain at the forefront of students’ minds.

Campus security fails to prevent the attack. (TCNJ Digital Archive)

A Travers resident was assaulted and robbed at knife-point early Sunday morning, according to campus police reports. Jeffrey Schnier was watching television in his room on tenth floor Travers at 2:35 a.m. when two men knocked on his door and entered asking for marijuana, claiming one of the other floor members said he would have some, according to the report of Lt. Renito Williams. According to reliable sources, the room Schnier lives in was a drug disposal last year. When Schnier said that he didn’t have any marijuana, one of the men allegedly pulled out a hook knife and demanded all the marijuana and money he had, the report said. Schnier later told The Signal that one of the men said, “You’ve been had. Where’s your money?” While one of the assailants held the knife at Schnier’s neck, the other ransacked the room, finding approximately five grams of marijuana, $12 in cash and clothing and other items worth about $102, the report said. They allegedly forced Schnier to take off his clothes and throw them out the window. They made him lie on the ground and lied his hands behind his back with a string of beads, Schnier said. When they tried to take other beads off the ceiling they knocked beer bottles over and fled by the stairs near the elevator, Schnier said. Schnier described the two suspects as black, around 5’9″, medium build, short cropped hair and between 20 and 25 years old. One was wearing a brown corduroy jacket and dark pants and the other was wearing dark clothing. Police are testing a fish bowl that the men might have touched to see if they left fingerprints behind, Sgt. R. Thomas Hagaman said. The two men showed a room key with a “C” stamped on it when checking in at the Tracers security desk but the key should have had “T” on it, according to Williams’ report. “C” keys are replacement keys. The men allegedly gave their names as Keith Williams and Herbert Ellison and had signed to go to room 920. However there is no room 920 in Travers, the report said. “It is quite likely that they are aliases”, Hagaman said. “Without security asking for identification, they could give any name.” Schnier suffered a cut hand on the broken glass and was taken to the infirmary for treatment and was then released.