Rochester’s Aquinas Institute, located at 1127 Dewey Ave., is looking at ways to enhance its security after two cheerleaders and their coach were robbed Oct. 4, according to Joseph B. Knapp, director of admissions and public relations.
At approximately 8:30 p.m., two males wearing bags on their heads took the purses — which Knapp said contained little money — of two freshman cheerleaders, both 14, and their adult coach, Knapp said. The girls and their coach were sitting under a bridge walkway connecting the school’s main building to the Wegman-Napier Science and Athletic Center when the robbers approached them and brandished what appeared to be guns, Knapp said.
The students and their coach were not harmed, Knapp said, adding that this was the first time a robbery has taken place at the school during the 12 years since he’s worked there.
The Rochester Police Department was immediately notified of the robbery, according to an Oct. 5 letter to school parents from Michael R. Daley, president, and Dennis G. Sadler, principal. The letter said police recovered the purses two blocks away from the school.
Knapp said police had held two individuals for identification, but that they were not identified as the robbers. A police investigation is continuing, he said.
Knapp said school officials informed the student body of the incident the next morning, and that school counselors and other officials met with the cheerleading squad to discuss what happened.
School officials are looking at increasing the number of security personnel at school events, Knapp said, and have emphasized to students that they can wait in the school cafeteria or in the back of the school for rides after participating in extracurricular activities. The school is taking other steps to enhance security, according to Daley and Sadler’s letter, including reviewing facility utilization and scheduling, and working with police, city and neighborhood groups.
Knapp emphasized that Aquinas is a safe campus, and added that the school would keep on top of security issues.
“We’ve got a tight community here,” Knapp said. “We look out for everyone.”