BROOKINGS, SD -
Kidnapped, robbed, and raped at knife point, a third woman has been attacked this month in Brookings and police believe the same man is behind all three attacks
The previous two crimes
happened on South Dakota State University's campus, but the early Tuesday morning assault happened just after midnight more than a mile from the university.
Police say a 24 year old woman was abducted at knife point outside a Brookings home. They say her kidnapper took her to a different location where she was robbed, raped, and later set free.
"This is something that's new to our community. We don't have a lot of violent crime that occurs here in Brookings," Police Chief Jeff Miller said.
While the attack didn't happen on campus South Dakota State officials sent out an e-mail to students Tuesday afternoon to let them know police believe the three assaults are connected. They are urging students to walk in groups, and right now it's common to see students walking together at South Dakota State
"It's really scary. I can't even walk to my car by myself anymore. It's just creeping me out. I don't even know what to do anymore," South Dakota State freshman Tessa Bollinger said.
Students are watching out for each other and making sure their friends, classmates, and neighbors stay safe.
"I'll have people, girls, call me and stuff and say, hey can you come out to my car and walk with me back to my room. Or, can you walk me out to the car, all the time," South Dakota State freshman Donald Pearce said.
University Police are patrolling campus and offering campus escorts at night. Just in the last week SDSU Police have fielded nearly 40 requests for escorts.
"That is up substantially from a normal week. And, quite frankly that's a service that our police officers and our student officers are happy to provide," Bob Otterson, Executive Assistant to the President said.
It's a service university officials are urging students to use if they don't have anyone else to walk with.
"University officials are really asking students to, more than ever, continue their personal safety practices," Otterson said.
And whether that's with campus police officers, or their friends, safety can be found in numbers right now at SDSU.
The suspect in all three attacks is described as an African American male, 5'8" to 6' feet tall with an average to slim build.
In the first two attacks, he was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with a bandana over his face.
Tips after the second attack also led them to believe he's used an older blue, two-tone full-sized van that's boxy in shape with a light-colored stripe down each side.
If you have any information for police, call the Brookings CrimeStoppers at (605) 692-STOP, (605) 692-7867.
To call for a campus escort from University Police call (605) 688-5117.
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