As spring break was beginning for the university community, so too began a legal entanglement for a couple students.
Two University of Miami freshmen, Kenneth Richard Gray and Tomario Alando Davis, are accused of robbing three other UM students who were returning from South Beach on March 8 around 4:50 a.m.
Sgt. Javier Bruzos of the Coral Gables Police Department said the victims were set up by Nathan Allen Pirtle, who is not a UM student. He was originally thought to be a victim as well.
Pirtle admitted to his participation in the planning and execution of the robbery after his arrest, according to the police report.
Pirtle, 22, was with the three students on a charter bus not sanctioned by the university and called Davis and Gray to tell them that he and the students were approaching campus.
Davis and Gray then showed up at Stanford Circle with stockings over their heads and asked the victims for money at gunpoint, according to the crime alert e-mail sent out by UM police.
The victims handed over $900 and a blackberry to the robbers.
Pirtle’s plan with the two students collapsed when one of the victims said they saw him the next day with his cell phone, which had been “stolen” the night before. Davis was arrested March 10 and Pirtle and Gray were arrested March 11. All three were charged with armed robbery with a firearm and use of a communication device in committing a crime.
The arrest reports indicated that Gray was actually using an air-powered weapon and Davis was using a pellet gun, and neither was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crime.
The Dean of Students office will not decide if any disciplinary action will be taken until after the criminal trials.
Friends of Gray showed their support for the freshman, who is a Maryland native, by posting comments in his Facebook wall such as, “Keep ya head up Kenny.”
Both Tomario, who lives in Hecht and has his hearing on April 1, and Gray, who lives in Stanford and has requested a public defender, have been released to their parents. Gray’s hearing date was not posted on the Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Web site.
Pirtle is still in jail and will have a hearing April 1.
Alexander B. Pearce contributed to this story.
Karyn Meshbane may be contacted at email@example.com.