Students victims of weekend assaults

Four assaults were reported in the University area over the weekend, three of which involved University students.

An alleged robbery and sexual assault of a female undergraduate student occurred early Monday morning at 12th Street and Wertland Street.

According to Francis Laushway, the dean on call that evening, the Charlottesville police are currently investigating the incident.

Charlottesville Police Captain Chip Harding said a 20-year-old female was robbed and sexually assaulted by a tall black male while in her car.

The weekend's first crime was an attempted strong armed robbery reported to University Police early Sunday morning.

According to University Police Captain Michael Coleman, a student was assaulted near Fitzhugh Dormitory by two suspects, both black males between 18 and 20 years of age.

The other three incidents took place off Grounds and were reported to the Charlottesville Police.

An assault and robbery was reported early Sunday morning on the 300 block of 13th Street.

According to Harding, the victim's purse was stolen after she was pushed to the ground by two black male suspects.

Another purse snatching also was reported only a few hours before, late Saturday night on 8th Street Northwest.

Police suspect there may be a connection between the two purse snatchings.

"We don't know that they're related," Harding said. "Because of the proximity of time and location they very well could be."

Harding said the robbery and sexual assault on Wertland Street does not appear to be related to the two purse snatchings.

The police cannot definitively connect this weekend's crimes to one another or to any other crimes in recent weeks.

According to Coleman, the University Police are working with Charlottesville Police on the investigation of that incident.

"Our investigators cooperate with the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle on a regular basis," Coleman said.

These incidents are the most recent in a series of crimes affecting University students in the past few weeks.

"I am concerned about the seeming increase of these kinds of confrontations in the last few weeks," Laushway said.

Harding, Coleman and Laushway all urged students to take extra precautions to insure their safety.

"Clearly all students should be aware of their environment and make every effort to secure safety by traveling with at least one other person in well lit places," Laushway said.

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