Posted: Sep 13, 2012 11:00 AM by Irina Cates - KPAX News
Updated: Sep 13, 2012 10:47 AM
MISSOULA- Police are still searching for a man who allegedly beat up and robbed a woman on the University of Montana campus early Wednesday morning. The robbery happened near the tennis courts with police saying the suspect punched the 20-year-old woman and then stole her wallet.
Police say the suspect walked up to the woman and demanded she give him her wallet. 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. The victim then 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," UM Interim Communications Vice President Peggy Kuhr explained.
The school sent out a text message warning students about the incident and gave them the description of the suspect.
"I got three texts actually," UM sophomore Riana Witherit.
"I got texts from three different numbers, it was on their Facebook, they also e-mailed me," added fellow sophomore Caroline Houser.
Some students say they take extra precautions on campus.
"It's a little scary. I carry self-defense stuff always, cause...I know this campus is a little scary. I mean, I did that before I came here too," Houser explained.
"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," Witherit told us.
"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," Kuhr pointed out.
Kuhr also wants to remind people about the Grizzly Personal Safety program, saying that if you have to walk alone at night, they'll send someone to escort you.
UM officials say they are satisfied with how students were notified, but the school wants to improve the notification time even more.
The Missoula Police Department is still investigating the incident, and are looking for a white man in his 20's who is between 6' and 6'6" tall with spiked, blonde hair and a long, thin nose.
Anyone with information about the assault and robbery is asked to call Missoula Police Detective Guy Baker at (406) 552.6284 or Crimestoppers at (406) 721.4444.