Pitt students duct taped, held at gunpoint in their home

Two unidentified men duct taped and robbed two Pitt students after holding them at gunpoint in their South Oakland home early Monday morning.

According to Emily Schaffer – Assistant Public Information Officer for the Department of Public Safety – Pittsburgh police officers responded to a call for a home invasion on the 3300 block of Niagara Street at 5:15 a.m. on Monday. Pitt senior Ryan Foster said he was sleeping in his basement room when noises on the first floor woke him up. Two men entered Foster’s room with a gun held to the head of his roommate, also a Pitt senior, whose head they had already duct taped.

Foster said his roommate’s head was completely wrapped in tape.

“He was like a mummy,” he said.

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Foster said both intruders were carrying guns and likely entered through the house’s back door, which was unlocked.

The intruders told the two roommates to be quiet before demanding money from them. They then duct taped Foster’s mouth and hands and threw them both in the shower in the basement bathroom.

“When we were in the shower, I had to put my fingers through the tape so [my roommate] could even breathe,” Foster said. “I was just like, ‘You don’t need to do that to me,’ so they luckily only taped my mouth and my hands together.”

After throwing Foster and his roommate in the shower, the two men stole his phone, wallet and some cash from his desk. The intruders said they were going to ransack Foster’s room and then go upstairs to wake up the rest of the residents of the house. Though Foster said they did ransack his room, they didn’t wake up his two other roommates, both Pitt seniors, who slept through the incident.

Schaffer said both intruders were black men wearing sweatshirts and ski masks. One of them also had dreadlocks, according to Foster.

Foster said he and his roommate waited in the shower for 10 to 15 minutes before deciding to check to see if the men were still there. When they looked out of the bathroom and didn’t see or hear anything, they ran up the stairs and out into the street to look for help. The two students ran, still duct taped, to the Sunoco on Craft Avenue to call the police.

“Nobody would stop for me, either, it was crazy,” Foster said. “I had to run all the way to the Sunoco.”

When the police arrived, they woke up the two other residents of the house, and attempted to track Foster’s phone using the Find My iPhone app. Though the police did locate the phone, according to Foster, the intruders had thrown it off of a cliff.

In a similar robbery last September, an unidentified man broke into a Pitt student’s home on McKee Place, also wielding a gun and demanding money before forcing the student into his basement.

Because of the way the intruders demanded money from them, Foster said he wonders if they had meant to rob a different house.

“They were screaming, ‘Give me the money, give me the cash.’ I think they were looking for something that wasn’t here,” Foster said. “They might’ve had the wrong house.”