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November 23, 2022

Man arrested in connection with two robberies inside homes near Temple campus, police say

Nasir Johnson, 25, is being charged for robberies that involved students on Nov. 11 and Nov. 21; both investigations are ongoing, police said

Crime Arrests
Temple University Off Campus Robberies Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

A 23-year-old male was arrested in connection with two recent robberies inside homes near Temple University's campus, PPD Deputy Commissioner Frank Vanore said on Wednesday.

A 25-year-old male has been arrested in connection with two of the three robberies that occurred inside homes around Temple University's campus earlier this month, police said on Wednesday. 

Nasir Johnson was arrested on Monday for possession of a stolen vehicle, and police believe he is connected to robberies near the university's main campus on Nov. 11 and Nov. 21. Each incident involved Temple University students, though no injuries were reported. 

Johnson remains in custody on Wednesday and has been charged with theft, receiving stolen property and multiple counts of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, criminal trespassing, simple assault, making terroristic threats and other related charges. 

On Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 4:40 a.m., three men broke into a house on the 1900 block of N. 18th Street, where three 19-year-old Temple students were inside, police said. Two of the men who broke in had guns, and stole a laptop, backpack, IDs and car keys from the students. 

A second incident occurred early on Friday, Nov. 11, when two armed men broke into an off-campus residence on the 1300 block of North 15th Street with 11 students between the ages of 20-22 were asleep inside. Inside the apartment, the robbers ordered the occupants into the basement where they took the students' debit and credit cards and cell phones, along with the keys to a 2015 silver Lincoln MKS, which was used to flee the scene, police said. 

The car and two of the cell phones were recovered by police, and the debit and credit cards were used shortly after the robbery occurred. No injuries were reported, police said. 

On Tuesday, police released surveillance video of the suspects wanted in connection with the Nov. 11 robbery. In the video, the suspects are seen rushing down the street with masks over their faces before being photographed inside a nearby store. 

On Monday, Nov. 21, two men entered a home on the 1900 block of North 18th Street at around 6:20 a.m. One of them carried a gun, and both stole items including iPhones, electronics, a handgun and keys to a 2022 Mitsubishi, which they used to flee the scene. A Temple spokesperson told the Inquirer that one of the four people inside the home was a Temple student. 

Two of the robberies — on Nov. 9 and Nov. 21 — were located inside the Temple police patrol zone, and both occurred on the same block. The robbery on Nov. 11, which occurred at an apartment located four blocks south of the university's main campus, is outside of that zone. 

The suspects in the Nov. 11 robbery were apparently told that the apartment on North 13th Street was a home where they would be able to find drugs, 6ABC reported. The PPD did not immediately respond to PhillyVoice's request for comment regarding that rumor. 

Since the robberies began earlier this month, Temple has amped up its police patrols and sent out safety tips to students and parents. Following reports of Monday's robbery, Jennifer D. Griffin, vice president of public safety at Temple, released a statement informing the school community that Temple and Philly police are continuing the investigation. 

"This (Monday) morning was the third home invasion within the last two weeks, and all investigative leads are being explored," Griffin wrote, adding that officials from the PPD and Temple's Department of Public Safety have been in constant communication. 

Griffin emphasized Temple's Best Nest Program, which helps students and families find off-campus housing options that meet the school's public safety criteria. Further, landlords within the Temple police patrol zone can apply for Temple's Security Upgrade Grant, a $2,500 award that can be used to install lighting and cameras to improve security.

Temple has continued to struggle to address public safety concerns around its main campus in North Philadelphia. 

A year ago, Samuel Collington, a 21-year-old political science student, was shot and killed during a carjacking near campus. In January, Hyram Hill, 23, the son of a Philadelphia police officer, was fatally shot during a robbery just south of the university's medical campus. Suspects in both shootings have been arrested and charged. 

Anyone with information about any of the robberies near Temple's campus can contact the Philadelphia police tip line by calling or texting (215) 686-8477 or can submit an anonymous tip online.