Bank robbery disrupts University of Utah campus

By Sarah Mecham

SALT LAKE CITY— A location tracker on stolen money led the hunt for an aggravated bank robber to the University of Utah campus on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

After the U.S. Bank was robbed on 2300 East and 2100 South at 5:30 p.m., tracker information on the stolen money located the robber near the Eccles Broadcasting Center on the University of Utah campus.

The University of Utah Police and Eccles Broadcasting Center employees assisted the Salt Lake City Police Department securing campus safety. Because the robber threatened using explosives during the bank robbery, police units immediately secured upper campus and began searching the Eccles Broadcasting Center using K-9 units. According to Salt Lake City Police Detective Richard Chipping, officers cleared the building, searching room-by-room, looking for the suspect and explosives.

Philip Tipus, director of Broadcast Engineering at the Eccles Broadcasting Center, quickly reviewed security camera footage with police.

“I watched him walk around the building, but [he] never entered. But he set something down outside the building. Footage showed the suspect walking southeast toward the TRAX station,” said Tipus.

Chipping stated the police discovered the money-tracking device outside the Eccles Broadcasting Center.

Employees inside the Eccles Broadcasting Center were not initially informed of the situation, but they were rather surprised when armed police “stormed the building,” Tipus said. Employees were concerned for their safety when police officers entered the building with K-9s and visible weapons. Police officers did not respond to questions from Eccles Broadcasting Center employees.

“There is no good answer on what to do each time you enter a room when something is happening. There is no time to stop and communicate when officers are focused on tactics and safety,” Chipping said.

Campus employees and students were notified about the situation via Twitter and a campus safety alert at 6:03 p.m., alerting them of police activity at the Eccles Broadcasting Center “as very dynamic and to avoid the area if possible or secure in place until further notice.” Police released a description of the bank robber as a “white male, dark hair, straw hat with a fake mustache and beard; last seen wearing a black shirt with a tan vest, blue jeans and a fanny pack.”

Student athlete James Barker sat in biology when the campus alert came through. His biology professor proceeded with class, telling her students they were safer sitting on the third floor in Presidents Circle, so they should continue on with class. Shortly after, Barker received a text that all practices and intramural games for the night were cancelled due to the police activity on campus. The McCarthy Athletic field is located directly west of Eccles Broadcasting Center.

 At 7:55 p.m., campus police lifted restrictions to upper campus after they believed the bank robber was no longer on campus and no explosives were found on the premises.

“We located his abandoned car in the Eccles Broadcasting Center parking lot and assumed suspect fled the scene on TRAX,” Chipping said.

Police identified items in the car associated with the bank robbery and then identified the car’s owner as Curtis Crosby.

The next day the suspect, Crosby, age 30, was located in Layton by Layton Police, and transported to the Salt Lake City Police Department for questioning.

Sgt. Garth Smith with the University Police encourages staff and students to immediately call 911 if they see any suspicious or potentially dangerous activities on campus.