Purdue police using security network to seek assault suspect

Police say the man without a hat is a "person of interest" in the sexual assault investigation.
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Purdue police released new images they hope will lead them to a person of interest in a series of sexual assaults on campus.

Captain Eric Chin calls them "high resolution images."

"We were able to capture them from different camera locations on campus," he said.

Police are looking for a skateboard rider that victims say rode up to them, then groped them and took off.

There are two men visible in the security images. The man without the hat is the person of interest.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, police hope the clear images are worth at least a few good tips.

The images were culled from the University's security camera system - a multi-year project to wire campus areas with closed-circuit television coverage.

The first two phases of the project are complete. They cost $1.4 million dollars. Phase three is underway now to provide coverage to the uncovered parts of campus.

"We have over 166 cameras on campus and of those cameras we have an additional 230 video feeds that come into our police department," Chin said.

In the search for suspects, police combed the security images from locations in and around the crime scenes and found the skateboard rider they now want to talk to.

With such crisp images, police hope someone will recognize the face and the sweatshirt with the DCSC logo.

"I look up at the screens all the time on a regular basis. If I see people milling around I'll check to make sure everything is okay," a dispatcher said.

"We can actually start viewing a scene before the officers arrival," Chin said.

The cameras helped police catch a graffiti bandit and five strong-arm bandits who struck campus last November. Captain Chin says police were actually able to grab good facial images of the teens, then trace their route through campus as they moved from camera to camera. All the way back to the car they arrived in.

"Makes me feel a little bit safer," says student Jessica Buening.

Indiana University has a security network, too. IUPUI wants a bigger one after an incident last week when someone spotted a weapon in a car. Existing cameras captured little information.

"I think it's a good idea," said student Allison Culp. "As long as it doesn't invade anyone's privacy."