The victim, an Asian male, according to Somerville Police Department (SPD) Spokesman Paul Upton, was walking down Park Street at around 11 p.m. last Wednesday night when he heard running footsteps behind him.
After being knocked to the ground, the victim and the suspect engaged in a scuffle, Upton said.
According to a Harvard University Police Department (HUPD) crime advisory, the struggle resulted after the victim refused to give up his backpack and yelled for help. The alert was sent out to all of the graduate schools located in the North Yard of the University, near Oxford Street and Divinity Avenue.
The HUPD advisory reports that the suspect pummeled the victim in the face and upper body. The victim reportedly responded by striking his assailant with his fists.
According to Upton, the suspect then produced a knife, indicated that a robbery was taking place, and demanded that the victim hand over his money.
But at the time of the robbery, a report filed by HUPD did not state the presence of a knife and labeled the incident as an unarmed robbery. HUPD Spokesman Steven G. Catalano said the information HUPD first received was from the victim on the night of the incident.
“That information [about the knife] was not provided to us at that time,” he said.
An undisclosed amount of money was then taken from the victim’s wallet and the suspect fled across Park Street.
SPD conducted an unsuccessful search for the suspect in the area.
The alleged robbery took place at 63 Park Street, near the Harvard Center for Asian Studies. According to the Somerville police, this location is halfway down Park Street near a railroad crossing and Beacon Street.
SPD received a call regarding the incident at 11:32 p.m. that same night from a resident of Sommerville.
The suspect is described as a blonde, clean-shaven white male in his 20’s sporting a crew cut-style haircut, according to the HUPD advisory. He is about 6’3” tall, has a muscular build and weighs about 175 pounds. At the time of the robbery, the suspect was reportedly wearing a yellow and white coat with a blue hood.
In the alert, HUPD reminded students, faculty, and staff to comply with the requests of an armed assailant and not to resist if approached by someone displaying a weapon and demanding property.
SPD Officer Alan Monaco is leading the ongoing investigation. Police would not release the name of the victim yesterday.