Gettysburg Freshman Charged with Felony Robbery

Railroad tracks near Ice House by Aly Wein//The Gettysburgian

Railroad tracks near Ice House by Aly Wein//The Gettysburgian

By Nicole DeJacimo, Managing Editor

Yesterday, Michael James Melnyk ‘25 attempted to rob the M&T Bank near the Ice House Complex and according to the Gettysburg Borough Police, was charged with one felony count of robbery. 

The first-year student from Oakton, VA, entered the bank on March 2, around 1:00 p.m., and after demanding $4,000, ran out the door down the railroad tracks. Witnesses at the bank described him as a Hispanic or white male around 5’7” and with a lanky build. When police arrived at the scene, they promptly mistook Professor Rudd Platt for the suspect. Three officers pointed their guns at him, made him lie on the ground, and handcuffed him on the side of the tracks. 

“The officers then chased after someone who was running down the tracks toward Ice House. It was pretty clear at this point that I was not their man,” said Platt, recalling yesterday’s incident. “An officer returned and checked my ID while I was still face down on the grass. He said that he couldn’t unlock the handcuffs because he had left the keys in the car.” Platt was released in time before his afternoon class.

According to Executive Director of Public Service Alex Wiltz, the borough police notified campus security during the nine minutes that they caught the suspect. DPS informed students via email 32 minutes later and explained that the campus was no longer in danger. 

It was disheartening that the police’s first impulse was to use force. I can’t help but think of all the ways the situation could have gone sideways,” said Platt. “When the police takedown bystanders at gunpoint, something is wrong with our system of policing in Gettysburg.”

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Author: Nicole DeJacimo

Nicole DeJacimo, ‘22, is the managing editor of The Gettysburgian and is a political science major with a double minor in writing and peace & justice studies. Outside of the Gettysburgian, Nicole is a Fielding Fellow and co-manager for the College Union Building Information Desk. During her free time, Nicole enjoys singing, reading, going to Waldo's and having movie nights with her friends. She plans on moving to D.C. after college to work as a political journalist.

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3 Comments

  1. I’m sure the police were also thinking of all the ways the situation could have gone “sideways”. Thank heavens the professor made it to class on time…
    Thankfully the police caught and charged the student.
    Thank you for what you do!

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    • The student was not armed and did not resist arrest. The use of force was completely unwarranted.

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  2. One Parent’s Weekend my father had a music gig on a Saturday night and couldn’t be in Gettysburg; but my mother had come down with friends. I had dinner with her and took her back to her motel. (the Home Sweet Home). When I left, I noted a car was making all the turns I was. When I parked my car, there was a Gettysburg Borough cop accusing me of visiting a prostitute. Huh? Talk about a Barney Fife. Glad he didn’t draw a gun.

    I had read the robbery story in the G-burg Times. No mention of the police tactics involving the prof who apparently handled the situation better than I ever would. Sad that the Gettysburg police haven’t improved in the 59 years since my experience with them.

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