Police capture suspect in student robberies

Michael Lewis

Kent State student Travis Hessman and his girlfriend, Kelly Branagan, were robbed Friday night near the Music and Speech Building. Kent Police responded and captured the suspect.

Gregory Thomas Jr., of Ravenna, was arrested early Saturday morning and booked on felony aggravated robbery charges. Thomas allegedly robbed Hessman and Branagan, then assaulted exploratory major Samuel Beall.

According to the police report, the defendant drove up to the couple at the intersection of Horning Road and East Main Street demanding money and threatening to kill them.

Hessman and Branagan were returning from a benefit Friday evening, Hessman said. They were waiting to cross the road at the time.

“He pulled his car around us and blocked us in,” said Hessman, a graduate student in literature and writing. “Then he got out of his car and told us he was going to kill us if we didn’t cooperate.”

The defendant pointed something with his hand in his pocket at the couple, according to the report. The robber got away with $6.

After the robbery, Hessman and Branagan walked down East Main Street and found a security officer at Taco Bell. The officer reported the incident with the suspect’s description, leading to Thomas’ arrest.

Thomas allegedly stopped Beall later Friday evening, demanding money and threatening his life. When Beall turned to escape, Thomas reportedly cut him with a knife.

“The police were absolutely amazing throughout the whole ordeal,” Hessman said. “Within a few minutes, they were on the guy.”

Contact safety reporter Michael Lewis at [email protected]