UCF on alert after attempted battery on female student in campus garage, police say

Assailant's description matches suspect in similar incidents on campus

By Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group, Mark Lehman - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Central Florida is on alert after an attempted battery Monday night, campus police said.

The department reported that a female student was approached around 6 p.m. by a man who asked for help with his vehicle inside Garage C.

The woman told police that the man attempted to touch her leg, but she screamed and ran away.

[LISTEN BELOW: 911 call released in attempted battery on UCF's campus]

The man is described as being dark-skinned and 5 feet 7 inches tall. He wore glasses and was wearing a gray sweater and dark-colored pants. Police said he appeared to be the age of a college student and spoke with an accent.

Campus police said the description of the man in the attempted battery Monday night matches that of the man involved in two similar incidents that happened on campus within the past month and a half.

Police are asking anyone who sees suspicious activity to report it to them by calling 407-823-5555, or 911 in an emergency.

Students on campus Tuesday were spooked by the incident and said they are taking extra precautions.

"Since it happened again the third time, I feel that it's best that you be with someone at night," UCF senior Katherine Sun said.

From now on, Sun said she will be using the buddy system on campus at night.

"My class is right next to that building, so it could have been me," UCF junior Lucyana Panti said.

On Tuesday afternoon, officials with the Police Department released the 911 call made by the victim moments after the incident took place.

The woman said she noticed the man following her before he asked her for help jumping his vehicle. After asking for help, he tried to engage in conversation with her.

"And then he asked me if I noticed this scar on the back of my leg, and when I turned, I didn't turn because he asked me if I noticed the scar on the back of my leg--the scratches. 'There's like one scratch on the back of your leg,'" the woman said. "And he kept like signaling me to turn around. I was in the corner of the parking garage and I pushed him away. And right when I pushed him away he was like 'never mind' and ran away."

The woman told dispatchers that the man didn't touch her, but it was obvious that he tried to assault her.

"He just tried to sexually assault me. Because it was really clear, it was really clear what his intentions were, like the way he approached, everything," she said.

A spokeswoman for the department said Tuesday afternoon that investigators don't have many leads in the case, and that they still need the community's help.

"We hoped to generate some by releasing what surveillance video we had from the second incident but haven’t had much luck," spokeswoman Courtney Gilmartin said. "We’ve increased patrol and shared as much information as we have, but we need our community to remain alert and to call us with any information they have."

The UCF Police Department offers self-defense classes for women on a regular basis.

Officers said Tuesday that the classes were filling up fast, and that students should be aware of other resources that are available to them while remaining vigilant in the community.

"The biggest thing I can tell our students is, 'You are the eyes and ears of the community. If you see something suspicious, say something,'" Officer Frank Imperato said. "We want them to utilize things in place like the blue light phones. Activate it so we can respond very quickly. If they see somebody that matches that description, they need to call us."

Imperato said officers are focusing on crime prevention, personal safety and the defense classes throughout this week. For information on how to register for one of the classes, click here.

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