Aristides Nakos '12 stepped out of a party and into a crime scene early Saturday morning.
At approximately 1:10 a.m., Nakos saw three unknown men beat and rob a student at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Brook Street - "two males grabbing at him, the other punching him," he said.
The suspects fled west on Euclid and south on Thayer, with Nakos, a former member of the men's rugby team, chasing close behind.
"My natural instinct was to chase down the robbers because I thought it would just be another crime report that ends with the robbers fleeing the scene," he said.
Minutes later, in front of City Sports on Thayer Street, Nakos was holding one of the suspects, waiting for police to arrive. "He was aggressive," Nakos said. "He was trying to escape, tried to talk me out of it, but I identified him as the person who assaulted (the student) and held him there."
People on the street encouraged a physical altercation, Nakos said. When Department of Public Safety officers arrived, the suspect punched Nakos in the face. "Things got messy," Nakos said. "We got into a scuffle until police broke us apart."
The man Nakos apprehended matched a description the victim gave police. DPS officers handed Providence resident Carlos Falcon, 20, over to the Providence Police Department.
He was then charged with robbery, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police of DPS. Because the events took place on public streets, Providence is conducting the rest of the investigation, he said.
Hit and run
"I didn't hear or see anybody, but I actually felt the punches first," said the victim, a senior male who wished to remain anonymous. As he was receiving repeated punches to the face, the student asked his attackers what they wanted from him.
"Just give us the phone, man," one of them said. The student, who had been texting on his phone just before the attack, handed over his phone, and the suspects fled on foot down Euclid Avenue, leaving the victim with facial bruising, a swollen lip and a bloody nose.
The entire attack took less than a minute, the victim said. "The suspects were just as nervous as I was," he said. He was carrying other valuables at the time, but the robbers did not ask for them. "They were also trying to get out of there as quickly as possible."
The victim noted the University's fast and thorough response. Two administrators, as well as Health Services, contacted him later that morning to follow up and check on him, he said.
"I definitely know I should not have my face in my phone," the victim said. "I believe I was taken advantage of because I was distracted, not aware of my surroundings. I was vulnerable, and they saw that."
This was the second assault that involved a Brown student in the recent wave of robberies on College Hill, Shanley said. On March 13, a student was grabbed from behind and robbed of his iPhone on George Street, he said.
Robbers have been targeting people who have been using their cell phones on the street, he said. "Number one, it's a distraction. Number two, you have something that you're showing out as valuable," he said.
The Providence police department is looking into whether Falcon was involved in the March 13 robbery, Shanley said.
"Being a good witness and calling police is always a good thing to do," Shanley said.
Nakos, who suffered minor injuries, said he would do the same next time. Even so, when he saw DPSofficers confiscate a three-inch blade from Falcon, he realized things could have ended differently, he said. "It was all pure instinct for me to just apprehend one of them," he said. "I was lucky. Maybe if it had been slightly different, I would have resulted in being another victim."
The victim said he thinks when DPS sends crime alert emails, students do not always take the news seriously enough to recognize their own vulnerability.
"It's not until you actually experience it that you know that kind of danger's out there," he said.