Cal U. student charged in campus robbery

October 30, 2013
Khari Hicks

CALIFORNIA – A California University of Pennsylvania freshman from Pittsburgh was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with using a plastic toy handgun to rob another student that morning in a dormitory.

Campus police accused Khari Hicks, 18, who was listed on the Cal U. preseason football roster this term, of using the fake gun to steal $250 from Andrew Stenken in Residence Hall B., court records show.

Stenken told police he woke up in bed with a book bag pushed into his face about 11 a.m. at the same time Hicks was allegedly pointing a gun at him, the record indicates.

Police said Stenken and his roommate, William Walker, recognized Hicks, who was taken into custody about a hour later in room 308 in Johnson Hall, where he resides on campus, the affidavit shows.

Hicks gave police permission to search his room, where they found the black toy gun in a drawer and four stamp bags of heroin marked with boxing gloves and the letters K.O. in the suspect’s backpack, the record alleges.

During the robbery, Stenken and Walker believed the gun was real and possibly a semiautomatic weapon, police stated.

Walker gave police a statement indicating he let Hicks into the room that morning after Hicks knocked on the door asking for “the preacher,” who Walker assumed was his other roommate, Keon. Hicks replied he was looking for Keon and was allowed inside to look for his cellphone charger, the record states.

Walker told police Hicks left the commons area of the suite without locating the charger, and returned five minutes later saying he had spoken with Keon and was told it was by the television in Keon’s room. Walker then allowed Hicks into Keon’s bedroom to look for the charger, the affidavit states.

About a minute later, Walker checked the room and witnessed Hicks pointing a gun at Stenken’s head. Hicks, who was wearing a dark gray hooded sweatshirt and attempting to conceal his face with the book bag, fled the room with the money after ordering Walker to stand against a wall, police allege.

Police charged Hicks with three felony counts of robbery; two counts each of simple assault, making terroristic threats and reckless endangerment, one count each of theft and possession of a weapon; and four counts of drug possession.

District Judge Joshua Kanalis remanded Hicks to Washington County jail. Kanalis did not permit a bond, and listed the case a violent crime on the online court record.

Cal U. sports records listed Hicks as a graduate of Imani Christian Academy in Pittsburgh. He was not listed on the university’s football roster Wednesday.

Cal U. initially issued a crime alert about the robbery, instructing students and employees to lock their doors and stay where they were while police searched for the suspect.

The university later issued an update noting the suspect was in custody and all classes would continue as scheduled.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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