Incidents lead to an increase in patrols
A University of Oregon student reported that he was abducted and sexually assaulted while walking to Tom’s Market on Saturday night, the latest in a series of terrifying incidents that has occurred near the campus in the past three weeks.
The crimes have included multiple armed robberies and attempted robberies, including a reported holdup of a UO student that took place last week in broad daylight. Authorities provided details about that attempted robbery for the first time late Monday night.
The situation has led the University of Oregon and the Eugene Police Department to step up patrols and take other measures to prevent more crimes in the area.
Also, Eugene police on Tuesday said one of two men arrested for an armed robbery on March 12 of a video lottery deli in Springfield is responsible for a holdup of a similar business in Eugene earlier in the month.
In the reported sexual assault, a 19-year-old student told Eugene police that he was near Tom’s Market, at East 19th Avenue and Agate Street, about 10:30 p.m., when a man grabbed him from behind. The student said he was restrained and dragged to a car. Another person then drove the victim and the assailant to an unknown location, where the victim said he was taken from the car and sexually assaulted. The suspect fled on foot, and the driver left the area in the car.
The sexual assault suspect was described as a white male, 6 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 4 inches tall with a thin but muscular build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black pants, black Ray-Ban sunglasses, a black beanie-style hat and a black bandana over the lower half of his face.
There was no description of the driver or of the vehicle.
The student reported the incident immediately to Eugene police, who did not share the information with the University of Oregon Police Department, UOPD spokesman Kelly McIver said. He said he did not know why the information wasn’t shared, but on Monday UOPD learned about the assault from a third party. University police then sent a warning to other students, and offered counseling and other support to the victim, McIver said.
University of Oregon police are investigating the incident and asked anyone with information to call 541-346-2919.
Neither Eugene nor University of Oregon police have said whether they believe the suspects were involved in the string of armed robberies that have plagued Eugene, mostly in the campus area.
Tom’s Market had been robbed on the evening of March 5, one of 10 armed robberies reported in Eugene since Feb. 23. The first suspect in that robbery was described as a black male, in his 20s, between 6-foot and 6-foot-2 with a heavy or muscular build. He was wearing a black beanie-style hat, a black mask covering the lower part of his mouth, a long-sleeved black jacket and black pants. The second suspect was described as a white male, with a medium build, who was wearing a dark blue beanie-style hat, a dark blue sweatshirt with a gray hood and a logo, black pants and black shoes.
McIver said campus police and Eugene police have stepped up patrols near the campus. The university also has contracted with a private security company to assist with patrols near campus. Surveillance cameras near campus are expected to be installed this week, with help from the state Department of Justice.
The UO campus shuttle has extended its hours and is running from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily to provide rides for students.
Meanwhile, a UO student said she was held by a robber while two other men used knives to cut a backpack off her during a daytime robbery attempt last week.
The student told Eugene police that she was walking at about 12:30 p.m. on East 15th Avenue, between Alder and Kincaid streets, when she was approached by three men who were speaking to each other in Spanish.
One man grabbed her by the hair and pushed her up against a car, while two men pulled out knives, she said.
As the men tried to cut her backpack straps, the student pulled out her phone and told them she had called the police. The men then ran away in three different directions.
The student immediately reported the incident to Eugene police. University of Oregon police, who said they learned of the attempted robbery on Monday, now have taken over the investigation.
The UOPD said the first robber was a white male, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall with a lean build and blonde collar-length hair. He was clean-shaven with brown or hazel eyes and was wearing a red Columbia Sportswear Co. jacket and an Oregon baseball cap. The second robber was a Hispanic male, 28 to 30 years old, 280 pounds, with short black hair. He was clean-shaven and wearing a blue-striped shirt. He used a fixed-blade knife with a 6-inch, smooth-edged blade and blue tape on the handle. The third man, who used a pocket knife in the robbery attempt, was Hispanic, 28 to 30 years old, taller than 6 feet, with a medium build and dark black hair in a short pony tail. He was clean-shaven, with brown eyes, and was wearing a white tank top.
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