Public safety investigating two late night ‘suspicious persons’

Noah Alatza, Community Engagement Manager

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A University freshman says she was chased and almost attacked late Thursday night.

According to the university’s crime log, a suspicious person was reported on campus Jan. 19 at 12:31 a.m. near the Bigger Building in O’Daniel South. The case was closed at 1:09 a.m. because no suspects or witnesses were located.

Freshman art major Leah Lancaster was walking home after a night of studying from a friend’s apartment in the O’Daniel South complex at 12:30 a.m.

“I noticed right away how it was dead silent outside,” she said. “I was walking down the middle of the street, (but) it didn’t look like he walked out of any particular apartment. “

Lancaster said the man, in his 20’s or 30’s, was wearing a navy blue puffy jacket with a hood and was walking with his hands in his pockets.

“He turned and faced me as I was walking and suddenly this guy just walked out in the middle of nowhere and so I called my boyfriend,” she said. “It could have just been another student who was walking. But when he stopped in his tracks and looked at me, that felt off.”

Lancaster said she was walking east along Clarke Ln., she had just passed the Religious Life Center when the man started running towards her and that’s when she ran away.

“I immediately hung up and started calling 911,” she said. “He was walking towards me so I started walking away and I looked back and it looked like he was coming towards me. I was running with my backpack and portfolio as fast I could.”

Lancaster said she immediately called police because the man was chasing her.

“Once I made it inside my apartment and I told them I was safe, but just in case he caught up with me I wanted to be on the phone with someone,” she said. “I’ve always felt safe walking around, even at night.”

Lancaster filed a report with public safety shortly after the incident.

Director of Public Safety Steve Bequette confirmed on the class of 2021’s Facebook page that the university received two reports of “suspicious persons that had caused some concern with individuals.”

A second ‘suspicious person’ was reported on Jan. 17 at 5:32 p.m., in the Hammond building of Mcdonald East apartment complex.

Bequette said that Public Safety is “investigating these reports and asks that if anyone has additional information relevant to campus incidents, please contact Public Safety.”

Two additional reports were posted on Facebook but requests for comment were not immediately available, The nearest available blue emergency button is located just east of the Jennings Building.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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