Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Robbed student will “never go to the beach again at night”

What would have been an ordinary date night on the beach for sophomore Chelsea Wieland and junior Shawn Fennell turned into a search for two robbers. While the couple was sitting at the beach, two men wearing bandanas and hoodies walked up and stole Fennell’s wallet, cell phone and keys.

The couple had finished seeing a movie on April 29 and it was Fennell’s last night in Boca before returning back to his hometown of Tampa. But both Fennell and Wieland had bad feelings about the area before they walked on to the beach.
“We both had a weird feeling about the area and we were talking about how creepy the beach is at night,” says Wieland, a communications major.

According to Fennell, he kept looking over his shoulder from time to time. It wasn’t until they were sitting on the beach that the two men approached them from behind.
“I saw them from the corner of my eye. I thought they were [just at the beach] like we were,” explains Wieland.
“First they pulled [a knife] out and said, ‘Give me what you got.’ They were really mean about it and Shawn gave them everything he had,” she recounts.

Wieland left all of her possessions in Fennell’s car and didn’t have anything to give to the robbers.

According to her, only one of the perpetrators was armed, but Fennell claims he saw both with knives.
“They came up behind us and flicked their knife out to show us they had it. I couldn’t believe this was happening,” explains Fennell, an international business major.

Both Wieland and Fennell agree that the men didn’t threaten to hurt them.
“I didn’t want to do something to them, and they get me down and leave Chelsea by herself,” says Fennell.

After the two men took Fennell’s things, they told them to stay on the beach while they fled the scene.
“After we saw them leave, we tried to be quiet and ran to the fire station,” says Wieland.

They both ran to the fire station at Palmetto Park Road and used the emergency phone to call 911.

After the police arrived, they took fingerprints on Fennell’s car and drove them back to campus.
“I had a hard time sleeping. [Shawn] was freaked [out], but he was preoccupied with moving out.
I’m still kind of weird about it and I don’t like being outside by myself. I’ll never go to the beach again at night,” says Wieland.

On May 5, Broward County sheriffs arrested Carlos Alonso Garcia, 16, and Rodrigo Romero Lopez, 19. Sheriffs searched the two teens and found Fennell’s things in their possession.

Both Wieland and Fennell were informed of the arrest, and Garcia and Lopez both allegedly admitted to their actions. Fennell was able to recover all of his stolen possessions.

Wieland says she takes the robbery as a learning experience.
“If I could change one thing, it would be to listen to my intuition about the area.”

Fennell claims he’s not going to the beach at night unless he’s with a large group of people.
“I’m pretty good now, but I’m still pissed this happened. I’m just glad they caught them.”

Lopez is currently being held at Broward County’s main jail and is charged with robbery with a weapon and having an electric weapon/device. To see the charges visit:

Because Garcia is a minor, his information could not be released.


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