TERRE HAUTE, Ind (WTHI) - Two near-campus incidents, involving students, within the past week have Indiana State University Police urging students to be extra vigilant especially when walking at night.
William Mercier, chief of police at Indiana State University, says the first incident was during the early hours of August 31 at the intersection of 8th and Elm Streets, our sister station WTHI reports.
Mercier says a lone male driver approached a male student, who was on foot.
"The person approached the student -- asked him if he wanted a ride. The student said yes," Mercier recalled.
Police are labeling that incident an attempted abduction, and say the suspect was:
-A white male with brown hair and a beard
-Driving a light-colored, older model, two-door convertible
Mercier says that random act of kindness quickly escalated to captivity for the male student.
"At that point, he told the driver to stop. The driver refused, started to speed-up the car, went through -- was headed east-bound on Locust. It wasn't until they got in the area of 25th and Locust that the car slowed-down that he was able to get out," Mercier said. "He still struggled with the driver; there was a scuffle in the car."
Then, another violent incident Friday morning at roughly the same time at 61/2 and Elm Streets; this too was targeting another male student, also on foot, who turned down the offer of a free ride from a stranger.
"While the student was engaged in talking with (the driver), another individual came-up from behind him, jumped him, and assaulted him," Mercier said.
ISU Police are dubbing this incident an assault, and say behind the wheel of a maroon car was a black male.
The male suspect who attacked the student, a possible accomplice is described as:
-A dark-complected black male
-Standing approximately 6-feet tall
-Weighing 175 - 180 pounds
-With short hair, and some hair on his chin
-Wearing a white tank top and black shorts
ISU Police are alerting students to be ever vigilant, while at the same time vowing to investigate both incidents fully.
"We'll have extra patrols in the evening. We have asked both state police and city police to assist us in this area and both have said they would," Mercier said.
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