RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Police have increased patrols in the area after a robbery at a smoke shop near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus that could “pose a serious or continuing threat to campus safety” just one week after school returned to session for students.

VCU police said officers responded to the commercial robbery at Kulture, located at 1212 1/2 West Cary Street on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. The store is located just two blocks from the VCU student athletic gym.

According to police, an unidentified man entered the store and insinuated he had a gun as he announced he was going to rob the business. The man then proceeded to steal a number of items from the shelves and left the store.

Police described the suspect as a Black male with dreadlocks who was wearing a white face covering, white pants and a white T-shirt. He was last seen on a bike heading towards Harrison Street with a green bag.

In response to the robbery, VCU police said officers have increased patrols in the area, and the Richmond Police Department is leading an investigation into the crime.

“The VCU Police would like to remind students, in particular, to keep personal safety in mind. There are certain things you need to be aware of when living in an urban environment,” VCU police said in a release. “Crimes may occur in our community, and the best defense is to be prepared and to take responsibility for your own safety and for that of your friends and fellow students.”

Reminders from VCU Police:

  • Call the police immediately. If there is a panic alarm, activate it when it is safe.
  • Do not confront, chase, or follow, the suspect(s).
  • If the suspect claims to have a weapon, never try to force their bluff. Always assume that the robber may have a weapon.
  • If you’re in a business when a robbery occurs, do as instructed and don’t make sudden moves.
  • Always put the personal safety of yourself and others first: money and merchandise can be replaced.
  • Be a good witness; concentrate on the suspect’s description, such as physical characteristics, clothing description, height, weight, shoes, vehicle and the direction of travel.
  • If you can do so, safely and discreetly take a photo and send it to VCU Police on the LiveSafe app.
  • After a robbery lock the doors. Do not touch anything the robber may have touched.
  • Witnesses should stay at the scene.

Anyone with information pertaining to this, or any crime, can contact the VCU Police Department 24/7. For emergencies, call 804-828-1234. For non-emergency tips, call 804-828-1196. Off-campus emergencies in the City of Richmond can be reported by calling, or texting, 911.