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Security guard arrested for false crime alert

A UM security guard was arrested after lying about an attempted armed robbery that had allegedly taken place over winter break.

On Thursday, Dec. 29, the department of public safety issued one of its mass crime alert emails to the university community. It described an attempted robbery that allegedly took place at the guardhouse on the corner of Stanford Drive and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, at the entrance to the Coral Gables campus. Two weeks later, a second crime alert email was sent out, this time asking the readers to disregard the previous message about the attempted robbery as Public Safety officers had deemed the case to be “unfounded.”

The alleged victim was campus security guard Khiyata Ragin. In her statement to campus police, Ragin said that two armed black men had pulled up at her station in their black car at around 8 p.m. Tuesday and demanded her money at gunpoint. When Ragin informed the suspects that she did not have any money on her person, the suspects reportedly drove off.

After taking Ragin’s statement, campus police proceeded to investigate Ragin’s claims. When the officers examined the security cameras around Ragin’s station they found no evidence that the car or the two men Ragin had described had ever approached her that night.

Ragin was then arrested for filing a false police report and is currently awaiting a court date to answer for this charge. The Hurricane attempted to contact Ragin and her supervisor, in order to determine Ragin’s status as a UM employee, but calls for comment were not returned.

According to Russell A. Clusman, a police captain for the department of public safety, several security guards had been text messaging each other on the night of Dec. 27 to pass the time during their shift. It was at this time that Ragin reportedly sent a text message to one of her coworkers in which she joked about being robbed.

She was then asked whether or not the message was a joke, Ragin replied that she was being serious, and the friend proceeded to contact campus police.

When officers arrived at Ragin’s station she became nervous and instead of telling the truth provided the officers with a detailed description of the crime and the alleged suspects. According to the first crime alert email sent to the UM community, Ragin’s attackers were two black men between 20 and 30 years old. One was described as being bald with a full beard and a gold tooth. The other reportedly sported dreadlocks and a baseball cap. Clusman confirmed that these men never existed.

Although filing false police reports is not a common occurrence at UM, it is still taken very seriously by campus police.

“We don’t mess around with [filing false police reports],” Clusman said. “There’s a lot of resources and time involved, especially with such a serious charge [as armed robbery].”

“Filing a false police report is a first-degree misdemeanor offense,” Sgt. Michael Frevola of the Coral Gables Police Department said. “If [Ragin] is found guilty she can be sentenced to probation or several hours of community service.”

Although work hours and manpower was wasted in the investigation of Ragin’s false claims, Clusman said heremains positive about the situation.

“Crimes like these alarm the entire campus, which is why we send out the crime alerts,” he said. “We’re just happy that in the end nobody was robbed.”

Marina Nazir can be contacted at m.nazir@umiami.edu

January 23, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.