Purdue University police seek sex assault suspect
Purdue University Police want to know who's responsible for three reported sexual assaults that occurred on or near campus over the past three weeks.
In all three cases, a college-age man on a skateboard grabbed women in a sexual manner. The incidents occurred near the Purdue Memorial Union, the University Street Parking Garage and east of the Union, just off campus. All of the incidents took place in the afternoon.
"This is assault. This is serious and people need to be able to feel secure in their surroundings," said Purdue University spokesperson Jeanne Norberg. "We have a pattern, obviously. An individual who's a college-aged male, is on a skateboard and he's rolling along and, you know, groping women."
University officials are also asking students to be vigilant while walking around campus.
"If someone did it to me, I'd knock 'em off their skateboard, but I think that it's just crazy," said student Taylor Chuich.
"It's a pretty nice campus. I can't believe some guy's taking advantage of it to grope women, on a skateboard, no less. So, yeah, someone has to do something about that," said student Anthony Ramos.
According to police reports, the suspect wasn't alone. There was another skateboarder with him. Cameras in the area captured that second man on video and now police want to talk to him.
"We would like for him to come and talk with us or for anyone who might know him to let us know so that we can get in touch with him," said Purdue police Lt. Fred Davis.
Police have released a picture of the young man who investigators believe was either with the suspect or in the area when one of the incidents occurred.
"We'd like this individual, if he identifies himself, to come to police and share what he might know and also if anyone else you know might recognize this individual to alert him or alert police," said Norberg.
With warmer weather and bluer skies around the corner, more skateboarders will be out on campus in the coming months.
"We walk from home to school. It's very far away. Yeah, so we use this to save our time. It's more convenient for us," explained student Lincheng Li of riding his skateboard.
"We're not picking on skateboarders. It just so happens that this is a way to get away very quickly and to catch someone unawares," said Norberg.
Some students now say they are aware and will stay that way, until police figure out who this skateboarding suspect is.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Purdue Police Department at 765-494-8221 or its anonymous tip line at 765-496-3784. The WeTip anonymous hotline, which is used by all Greater Lafayette law enforcement agencies, also is available at 1-800-78CRIME (1-800-782-7463).