James Q. Wolfe
The victim of a robbery on the East Tennessee State University campus earlier this week was conducting a drug transaction when the holdup took place, police said.
James Q. Wolfe, 18, 219 Dorothy Circle, Limestone, was arrested by ETSU Public Safety on Thursday on charges of conspiracy to distribute a schedule VI drug and filing a false report after an investigator determined the man’s original story just didn’t add up.
When Wolfe came clean about the incident, he said he lied about how the robbery happened because his driver’s license and Social Security card were stolen during the incident, a court document filed by ETSU Detective Jennifer Mayberry said.
The robbery occurred Tuesday at the gazebo between Davis Apartments and Centennial Hall. The robbers were described as two black men wearing black and gray sweats with black jackets.
According to a report, Wolfe and Caylan Roberts, 18, of Jonesborough, told campus police they were walking on the sidewalk behind Davis Apartments, and as they passed the gazebo, they saw two men at one of the tables near a basketball court.
According to Wolfe’s originial account, he told police that one of the men called him over and asked for $5 and some food. Wolfe claimed he took his wallet from his backpack when the same man said “cock it.” Both robbers took handguns from their pants pockets and pointed them at Wolfe.
The men forced Wolfe to take off his backpack and sit at the table. While one went through his backpack, the other took his wallet containing about $60 in cash.
Wolfe also claimed the men made him call Roberts over to the table, where they had her empty her pockets as they went through her backpack. Roberts told campus police the men took her smart phone and $12 in cash.
But after Mayberry had the two victims give her their story several times, and even walk her through the incident at the scene, she realized their accounts were becoming more and more different.
According to the court record Mayberry filed, Wolfe finally admitted he went to meet the suspects to sell marijuana to them.
When he got there, “they pulled handguns on him and took his money, the marijuana and his wallet and its contents. Mr. Wolfe advised he only reported the incident because they had taken his driver’s license and Social Security card and he was afraid they would steal his identity.”
To corroborate his story, Wolfe showed text messages to Mayberry that “contained questions and answers consistent with a drug buy and delivery and a final meeting place of the gazebo behind Davis Apartments.”
ETSU Public Safety received assistance the night of the robbery from a Washington County Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit in an unsuccessful attempt to track the men.
University officials issued a campus security alert at 1:20 a.m. about the incident and urged students and staff to use caution.
Such alerts are posted on the university’s website and sent to students and employees via campus email and text messages.
Both robbers were described as being 19-24 years old. One was described as 6 feet to 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 170-190 pounds. He was wearing gray sweatpants, a black jacket and a red beanie cap. He was armed with a small, silver revolver.
The other man was described as 6 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 220-240 pounds. He was wearing black sweatpants, a black jacket, a black knit cap with red letters and a 2-inch ball on top, He was armed with a small, black semiautomatic handgun.
The incident was the second armed robbery reported on the campus in a matter of weeks. On March 26, two students told campus police they were robbed at gunpoint near Lamb Hall as they returned to their dorm from a nearby fast food restaurant.
Wolfe is free on $2,500 bond.
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An East Tennessee State University student who reported to have been the victim of an armed robbery on campus earlier this week has been arrested for filing a false police report and for conspiracy to distribute schedule VI drugs.
The student, James Q. Wolfe, 18, was arrested today by ETSU Public Safety. ETSU investigators believe an armed robbery did occur, but say Wolfe withheld information during the initial report. Wolfe will also undergo campus disciplinary procedures. No charges are being filed against the non-student victim.
Wolfe was booked into the Washington County Detention Center and bonded out almost immediately.
ETSU’s policy statement as a drug-free campus “prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of alcohol and illicit drugs on the ETSU campus, in the workplace (on- or off-campus), on property owned or controlled by ETSU, or as part of any activity of ETSU.” University officials say they will continue to vigorously enforce this policy.
The investigation of the April 8 armed robbery event continues.
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