BOSTON (CBS) – An armed robber held up a teacher at gunpoint inside a small arts school in a Jamaica Plain neighborhood Wednesday night. The incident, along with a second robbery in the area Thursday night has police stepping up patrols in the area near Eliot Street, an area considered a walking neighborhood near Monument Square.
On Wednesday night, a suspect described as a black man in his 20’s, about 5-feet-8 inches to 6-feet-1 inches tall, medium build and wearing a hoodie made his way to the second floor of the Eliot School of Fine and Applied Arts.
Executive Director Abigail Norman says he showed a weapon and demanded the teacher’s wallet and cellphone.
“He (the teacher) had a lot of poise, lived in the city his whole life, and knew to give the stuff away,” she said.
The school is a busy place that is frequently open late for classes, and while the suspect was noticed hanging around the grounds, it didn’t seem suspicious.
“He was asked what he was doing here and said he had a meeting with someone in the office. We had no reason to doubt him at that time,” said Norman.
But the school wasn’t the only target. The next night a resident of Eliot Street was held up at gunpoint by a man fitting the same description, who also stole his wallet and cellphone, even got the victim’s PIN number and stole money from his account at an ATM.
Boston Police held a community meeting with concerned residents about setting up watch groups, and better ways to protect themselves.
“One of the things we like about the area is that it’s so centrally located,” said Bonnie McBride. “But the thought of someone here with evil intent and guns are involved that ratchets up the concern.”
A police cruiser will be stationed outside the school for now. And while the front door has always been open at Eliot School, it is now locked requiring students and visitors to ring the doorbell for access. Director Norman is determined to maintain a safe, but still welcoming environment.
“We pride ourselves on our welcoming atmosphere and there’s no reason to change that,” she said.