APD arrests woman in connection with Subway robbery, UT Austin students react

Anna Lassmann

Dietra Lashell Lee was arrested on Feb. 8 in connection to multiple Subway robberies in West Campus, according to a tweet by the Austin Police Department.

On Feb. 2, a Subway on West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was robbed. This was the third robbery of a Subway restaurant within a span of two weeks. The first Subway robbery occurred Jan. 19 on San Antonio Street and was almost immediately followed by the robbery of the Subway located in Dobie Mall.

Following the robbery of the West MLK Subway, APD issued an arrest warrant for Lee.

Lee’s arrest affidavit from the MLK robbery said she bought two cookies and then handed the employee a note which said, “I have a gun. Give me the cash in the drawer. I’ll shoot.” The affidavit said the Subway employee gave Lee the cash from the register, which she took along with the cookies and then left.

APD officers stopped Lee less than two blocks away from the Subway shortly after. However, when they brought her back to the Subway for identification, the employee did not identify Lee as the suspect, the affidavit said.  APD detectives reviewed surveillance video from Subway afterward and found Lee to be the suspect from the robbery, the only difference was she was not carrying the purse she had at the time of the robbery, the affidavit said.

Lee was booked into the Travis County Jail on Feb. 8 and charged with robbery by threat, the affidavit said.

APD is currently investigating additional charges related to the first two Subway robberies, said APD public information specialist Tara Long in an email. 

Many students took to social media to express their opinion of the “Subway Robber.”

Neuroscience sophomore Maher Rahman said he thought the Subway robberies were silly.

“Robbery is a serious issue, but robbing not just one, but two Subways is comical,” Rahman said. “The idea of it is the story of an Onion article.”

Physics freshman Andrew Silva said he was initially concerned about the robberies. However, after more than one Subway getting robbed, Silva said he also found the incidents funny. 

“I live right next to the first Subway that was hit, so at first I was concerned, but right when I saw that a second location was hit I couldn’t stop laughing,” Silva said. “I mean, why Subway? And why more than one? Then I was disappointed that the third one wasn’t hit, and when she finally did it, I showed the article to all my friends and we had a good time laughing.”

Jordan Newman, an electrical and computer engineering junior, said once he got the second UTPD text alert about the Subway robbery with a suspect of the same description as the first, he found it hilarious.

“It was the nature of it being several Subways that made it funny to most people,” Newman said in an email. “Although it makes sense to attack several of the same place. It made it seem that it was a personal vendetta.”