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VCU issues safety alert after man assaults female students

RICHMOND, Va. -- VCU Police shared a photo and video of a man wanted for questioning in a pair of assaults on women that occurred at the downtown Richmond campus. Police issued a public safety warning as they investigated the September 21 and September 22 assaults that involved a man lifting a woman's skirt or dress.

"On Friday, September 21, 2018, a VCU student reported that while she was walking on the 00 block of South Harrison Street at 12:45 a.m., an unknown man approached her from behind and pulled up her dress," a VCU Police spokesperson said. "On Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, a VCU student was walking on the 00 block of South Brunswick Street at 3:45 a.m., between West Main and West Cary Streets, when an unknown man ran up behind her and lifted her skirt. The student reported seeing a flash, which police believe could have been either a flashlight feature or camera feature on a cell phone."

VCU Police detectives believe the same man was involved in both assaults.

Police described him as a white male, approximately 20 to 30 years old.

He wore a brown or black baseball cap, cargo shorts, and a t-shirt. In one report, the suspect was wearing glasses.

Upon getting an email about the assaults, several VCU students expressed concern Wednesday.

“I was kind of shocked that it was actually like happening," said Natasha Gwinn, Sophomore at VCU. She said she's experienced getting catcalled on campus, but was surprised to hear of this kind of assault happening at her school-- twice.

"Most of the times people think like flashers -- doing something like that is like old time -- but to think of someone doing this in the 21st century," Gwinn said.

Grad student Kelly Reagan said these kinds of incidents are symptoms of a bigger problem.

"Women should not be worrying about how they’re dressed and they should be able to walk around campus when they want to -- when they need to," said Reagan.

She said while news of the assaults concerned her, she believed VCU was doing everything they could to prevent another one.

"Based off the language that VCU was using I thought they were really trying to solve this as quickly as possible and make us all aware -- so I also had a sense of safety," Reagan said.

Anyone with information pertaining to this, or any crime, can contact the VCU Police Department 24/7. For emergencies, call (804) 828-1234. For non-emergency tips, call (804) 828-1196. Off-campus emergencies in the City of Richmond can be reported by calling, or texting, 911.

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