Man arrested in string of armed robberies targeting UC students

Four incidents happened within a mile of each other in one neighborhood.
Police searching for suspect involved in multiple armed robberies near UC campus
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 4:19 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A 22-year-old is behind bars Thursday night accused in multiple armed robberies near the University of Cincinnati’s campus.

Raphael Betts faces five counts of aggravated robbery. He was booked into the Hamilton County Justice Center at 6:43 p.m.

Four of the alleged robberies involved UC students and happened within a mile of each other in the CUF neighborhood southwest of campus.

They happened on Tuesday and Wednesday, each around 7-8 p.m. One occurred on Stratford Avenue, one on Fairview Avenue, one on Victor Street and one on Chickasaw Street, according to campus police.

Twice the suspect, now believed to be Betts, threatened the students with a weapon before fleeing, according to UC Public Safety. In the other two incidents, he allegedly displayed a weapon and followed through in robbing the students.

A criminal complaint describes the weapon as a semi-automatic handgun.

In the Fairview Avenue incident, which happened Tuesday night, a UC student was allegedly getting belongings out of their car when the suspect pulled up, displayed a gun and demanded money. The student gave the suspect money, and the suspect fled.

In the Chickasaw incident, which happened Wednesday night, Betts allegedly pulled up beside a group of women, pointed a gun at them and demanded money before fleeing.

The UC Public Safety Office said earlier Thursday the same suspect committed the four alleged crimes, though CPD Thursday night only referenced “the Chickasaw offense,” and as of this writing, court documents are only available for that incident.

Betts’ fifth robbery charge stems from an aggravated robbery on Tuesday around 8:20 p.m. on Charlton Street in Corryville, according to CPD. The alleged victim reported to CPD District Four.

CPD’s investigation is ongoing.

John Zigmond is a junior at UC and lives steps away from one of the robbery locations. He says on Wednesday night, he and his friends were looking for plans when they heard about the news.

“We were hanging out,” recalled Zigmond. “We were about to go to Short Vine, and then this kid, Niko, he was like, ‘there’s been a few robberies on Short Vine, so I don’t know if we should go.’ And I’m like; ‘it’s nothing wrong with a couple of robberies. It’s five of us.’ He’s like, ‘the guy is pulling up at gunpoint.’”

UC sophomore Cooper Schanne says he’s starting to get concerned about safety.

Schanne lives around the corner from the robbery on Victor Street.

“My girlfriend lives a street over, and she’s like kind of scared to be walking at night and **** like that,” he said. “I got club meetings and stuff that happens at night, so I’ve been driving.”

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