A UC Riverside student jogging on campus was sexually assaulted in an attack similar to one several days earlier, prompting university officials to urge women to be vigilant, the campus police chief said today.
"One happened on the heels of another, there are kind of some similarities, but we don't know for certain," said UCR police Chief Mike Lane. "It seems a reasonable thing to assume."
The victim was jogging through a parking lot on the west end of the campus around 11:30 a.m. Monday when she was tackled from behind, pushed face-first to the ground and sexually assaulted, Lane said.
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The attacker ran away when a pedestrian approached, he said.
"Due to the circumstances of how this occurred, the victim could only describe the suspect as a white male with hairy arms," the chief said.
The attack followed a May 27 assault on the opposite side of the campus.
A student was riding her non-motorized scooter just outside the campus boundary on Box Springs Road when a man tackled her to the ground and climbed on top of her, but was frightened off by a passer-by.
He was described as white, 6 feet tall and heavy-set, with a shaved head. He wasn't wearing any pants, according to witnesses.
The suspect made his escape in a late-model, four-door Acura sedan with "Moreno Valley" dealer plates, witnesses said.
"Both investigations are active," Lane said. "We're working with Riverside police now, and our detectives are talking to their detectives."
According to the chief, campus patrols have been increased, with the help of Riverside police.
Lane said fliers were being distributed throughout campus, warning students to "avoid dark areas and avoid walking alone at night."
"We're emphasizing the use of our campus escort service," he said. "We're also telling students to be aware of their surroundings and not to let themselves be distracted by cell phones and iPods."
Lane said in the first attack, the student was talking on her mobile phone, and in the second attack, the victim was listening to music on her iPod.
Anyone with information about either assault was urged to call UC Riverside police at (951) 827-5222, or the Riverside Police Department at (951) 787-7911.