Professor Assaulted, Robbed in Temple University Hall

By David Chang and Vince Lattanzio
|  Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013  |  Updated 1:02 PM CDT
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Philadelphia Police are searching for a man who attacked an 81-year-old Temple University professor in one of the school's academic buildings.

NBC10

Philadelphia Police are searching for a man who attacked an 81-year-old Temple University professor in one of the school's academic buildings.

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Attack on Professor Puts Campus on Edge

Searching for a suspect after a professor is attacked and robbed inside a Temple University building. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports.

Police Search for Suspect in Temple Professor Attack

A Temple University professor is recovering after he was attacked and robbed inside an academic building with restricted access. Philadelphia police have released surveillance video of the man they’re looking for. NBC10’s Nefertiti Jaquez has the story.
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Police have released surveillance video of a man who they say attacked and robbed a Temple University professor.

The professor, identified as 81-year-old Gopalakrishnan Veeraswamy, was inside his shared office on the second floor of Anderson Hall on Tuesday when the attack took place, according to university officials.

An academic building, Anderson Hall, is located off of 12th Street and Montgomery Avenue in a complex of buildings.

Police say the suspect entered Veeraswamy's office on 1114 Polett Walk around 11:20 a.m. He then allegedly punched the professor in the face and demanded his wallet while placing a knife to his throat.

Police say the suspect then took Veeraswamy's wallet and punched him in the face again, causing lacerations to his face and head as well as swelling and bleeding to his brain.

The professor was taken to the hospital and is currently in stable condition. Veeraswamy teaches Intellectual Heritage at the school. Investigators say they recovered his wallet and are processing it for fingerprints.

Iman Keita, a Temple student, told NBC10 she almost skipped class after receiving an alert reporting the attack and robbery.

"I didn't want to go to class," she said. "When we get alerts like that, especially the fact that it was on the main campus in a building, it really does make me nervous."

Keita was so nervous that she called her older sister, Nenayre Keita, a Senior at Temple, to be with her.

"I was really shocked that it happened in the building," Nenayre said. "I've never heard of someone going so far as to go inside the building and rob someone."

Temple spokesman Ray Betzner called the robbery an "unusual situation."

"Temple has a very, very safe campus," Betzner said. "To get into the area where this took place, an individual would have to show an ID to a guard to be able to get up into the elevator that would be up there."

While school officials have beefed up security on campus in the wake of the attack, many students are still on edge.

"Either way it's nerve-wracking," Nenayre said.

The suspect is described as a man between the ages of 35 and 40 with a mustache and a close cropped beard. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored jacket, blue jeans and a lanyard around his neck.

If you have any information on this incident, please call Philadelphia Police.

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