“Suspicious subject” hiding in tall grass pursues student late at night

Marc Ramirez, News editor

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Wednesday morning it was brought to students’ attention that there was an incident of suspicious activity at Western Illinois University. The incident occurred Sept. 15. around 1 a.m. outside of Lincoln/Washington/Grote Halls.

According to a Western Police incident report form, a female student was reported to be walking to her car parked in L-lot from her residence hall. Using the back steps south of Washington Hall that lead to the sidewalk of L-lot, the victim heard sounds emerging from the tall grass located on the hill above the lot.

“A stalky black male with a shaved head wearing a black shirt and black shorts,” was the description provided by the Western Police incident form report.

The suspect then proceeded to yell at the victim as he quickly ran down the hill towards her. While already on the phone with her roommate, she told her roommate to head towards the window to see if she could hear the

incident. She also advised her to send someone outside. The victim then proceeded to run to her car and when she got there the man was no longer following her and she was unaware of where he had gone. She did not recognize the subject and had no idea who he was.

It was also reported that a similar occurrence took place the night before around 1:15 a.m. It was reported that she was walking in the area and heard something; however, didn’t see anyone. It was stated that both times, there was no one else around.

“After this was reported Saturday, officers went to that area of campus to investigate, but due to the length of time that had passed, they were unable to locate anyone matching that description; however, since the time of the report OPS and student patrol have increased patrols in that area,” Jodi Pospeschil, public information coordinator, said in an email to the Western Courier.

Police Corporal Ted Anderson was the primary officer on scene. Students are being encouraged to utilize the blue light system on campus and the escort system provided through the Office of Public Safety.

On Western’s campus there are 49 blue light emergency call boxes installed. Anyone may notify police officials anytime, day or night, 365 days a year by pressing a button on the box. The call will automatically be forwarded to the OPS telecommunicator who will immediately dispatch an officer to the location of the blue light. People have the decision to stay at one blue light if they feel safe to do so and talk to the telecommunicator or they may press multiple and OPS will track path of the person in danger.

Western also offers a Student Patrol service of first-aid trained individuals who provide assistance such as escorts, reporting problems and assisting to emergency crews as needed. Hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday to Sunday 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.

“Individuals are encouraged to contact OPS at (309) 298-1949 immediately when they see or experience anything suspicious and OPS has also increased its awareness of services, such as escorts that are available on campus,” Pospeschil said in an email with the Western Courier.

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