VCU music professor helps police nab criminals

Posted at 7:45 PM, Oct 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-09 19:45:06-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) - For more than 30 years, John Patykula has taught music at VCU.  He lives not far from campus, and on Monday, Patykula found himself helping out another department: the VCU Police.

Patykula became suspicious of a group of men he did not recognize going in and out of a vacant building near Franklin Street over the weekened.

"I heard somethings, and I saw some things," said Patykula.

On Monday morning, Patykula flagged down a VCU patrol car and asked the officer to check out the building, which is currently under renovation.

"He told me they were actually looking for somebody," said Patykula.

VCU police confirm they were searching for a suspect involved in an assault earlier morning.  Officers entered the building, and found four men occupying it.

One of the suspects was the man police were searching for.  Investigators also found drugs, paraphernalia, and a concealed weapon on the suspects and inside the building.  All four men were arrested, according to police.

"This is an example of community involvement, and that's what you got to do," said Patykula.

The professor is quick to point out that he sort of lucked into notifying police of the suspects whereabouts.  Patykula was simply outside feeding his cat when the officer drove by.

However, the well-known professor's action is resonating with some students, who are typically apathetic about contacting the police.

"I guess seeing this firsthand just kind of let's you know [it's a good idea to] say something and speak up," said VCU Medical Student Lea Etchinson.  "I guess I'll be doing that more often know."

"This [situation] was just out of the ordinary, and I think that's what police are looking for.  Things just out of the ordinary," said Patykula.