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Whataburger working to improve security at restaurant, official says

Sept. 12, 1996

Jenny Bourn/The LariatThe crime rate at the I-35 Whataburger has included incidents ranging from vandalism to murder during the past year.

By Josh Jacquot

Lariat Reporter

A midnight snack at Baylor is not always as easy to get as it seems.

Although late-night runs are popular with many students, the fast-food restaurants immediately west of campus across Interstate Highway 35 are earning a reputation for fast trouble as well as fast food.

Particularly questionable is the Whataburger at 928 S. 7th St. Some students are all too aware of the crime at this location and tend to avoid this Whataburger after dark. From Aug. 26, 1995 through Aug. 26, 1996, there were 11 different incidents of crime, ranging from vandalism to murder, at this location.

The latest incident occurred Aug. 22 of this year. According to police reports, a man thought to be under the influence of a cocaine derivative stabbed Ben Cunningham, a Waco freshman, in the chest.

The resulting wound punctured Cunningham's lungs. After the attack the man fled on foot but was cornered by a group of Cunningham's friends and held until the police arrived. The assailant, charged with aggravated assault, was out on bail for a murder charge at the time of the stabbing.

Tim Taft, a national Whataburger spokesperson, said he was aware of only two of these incidents and that he knew University students had been involved. Taft said Whataburger has taken action to remedy the activities by installing a new lighting package and hiring security guards Thursday through Saturday nights.

Taft said that he would investigate and that there would be appropriate action taken when he was informed of the 11 accounts listed on Waco police department records.

Chief Jim Doak, director of the Baylor Department Of Public Safety, said that University police officers have been banned for the last three years from that location after dark because of the high risk factor.

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