Posted: Sep 12, 2012 6:09 PM by Irina Cates - KPAX News
Updated: Sep 12, 2012 8:14 PM
MISSOULA- Police are looking for a man who allegedly beat up and robbed a 20-year-old female student on the University of Montana campus early Wednesday morning.
Around midnight, in the area between the flag poles and the tennis courts, police say the suspect walked up to the woman and demanded that she give him her wallet.
She told police she thought it was a joke and because she didn't hand it over right away, the suspect punched her in the face and in the stomach, took her wallet and left on foot. Once he left the victim called for help.
"She used one of our emergency phones that we have around campus. She used the emergency phone that's right behind Don Anderson Hall," says the University of Montana Interim Communications Vice President, Peggy Kuhr.
UM sent out a text message Wednesday morning warning students about the incident and giving them the description of the suspect.
"I got three texts actually," said Riana Witherit, who's a sophomore at the University of Motana.
"I got texts from three different numbers, it was on their Facebook, they also e-mailed me," added Caroline Houser, who's also a sophomore at UM.
Some students say they take extra precautions on campus.
"It's a little scary. I carry self-defense stuff always, cause I mean I know this campus is a little scary. I mean, I did that before I came here too," Houser said.
"I'm not too surprised, cause I've heard there's some crime on campus and I'm actually taking a self-defense class to protect myself against that," said Witherit.
"This is a rare occurrence and we're grateful for that. At the same time the safety of our students all the time is the number one concern and we have people who are working with the residence halls to make sure people know how to be aware of your surroundings," said Kuhr.
Kuhr also wants to remind people about the Grizzly Personal Safety (GPS) program where she says if a student has to walk on campus alone at night, someone working for GPS will escort them.
UM officials said they are satisfied how students were notified, but the school wants to improve that notification time even more.