CINCINNATI -- David Beck was walking home on Sauer Avenue Wednesday night when he heard heavy footsteps behind him. As he turned around, a man in a black mask pressed a gun to his chest.
"He told me to back into the shadows," Beck said Thursday. “And he had a laundry list of questions. ‘Where do you live? How far away is it? Who’s in the house? Take me there.'"
Beck is one of at least four Clifton-area victims who have been held hostage and forced to withdraw large sums of money for the same masked man, according to University of Cincinnati public safety director James Whalen.
Beck said the masked man forced him to lead the way to his own apartment and stole the money he kept in his bedroom. The man then turned the gun on Beck’s roommate and ordered them both into Beck’s car.
With Beck behind the wheel, the man ordered him to drive to two downtown ATMs and withdraw as much money as he could. While Beck retrieved the cash, the man kept the gun trained on his roommate.
"He reminded me, ‘You have five minutes; I’ve got your boy,'" Beck said.
The man made off Wednesday night with around $500, according to Beck.
Cincinnati police were investigating the robberies, Whalen said. In the meantime, the University of Cincinnati encouraged students and nearby residents to travel in groups at night and remain alert.