November 1, 2010

Third Forcible Touching Incident Reported in a Week

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A woman reported to police that she was attacked by a man while walking along the 900-block of Mitchell Street at about 8 p.m. Monday night, according to the University.

“A male perpetrator grabbed [the victim] by the hair from behind, spun her around and slapped her across the face, then forcibly touched her breast,” said a University-wide crime alert. “The victim described the suspect as a white male, about 5′ 8″  tall, medium build, wearing a black hoodie with the hood up and dark jeans.”

He was last seen fleeing on foot in a south-westerly direction along Mitchell Street, according to the University.

The incident is at least the third reported forcible touching within the past week and also follows a string of burglaries at three Collegetown restaurants over the weekend. On Thursday, the Cornell University Police Department said it was investigating a strong-arm robbery involving forcible touching on the trail along Fall Creek Gorge. On Saturday morning, the Ithaca Police Department charged a man, 21-year-old Ronald McClure, Jr. of Ithaca, with forcible touching and burglary of two Collegetown residences. A woman living in a building along the 100 block of Catherine Street told police that she was awoken by an unknown man who made “unwanted advances upon her,” according to an IPD statement.

Police are also investigating burglaries that reportedly occurred early Friday morning at Sangam Indian Cuisine Restaurant, The Connection and The Chapter House. At all three Collegetown restaurants, an undisclosed amount of money was stolen.

CUPD had already stepped up its patrols last week, according to Chief Kathy Zoner.

Although she said that more patrols meant an increase in the number of officers on duty, Zoner declined to describe further details, citing the need to avoid tipping off criminals.

“We have an escalated concern anytime incidents occur in such a short period of time,” Zoner said Monday night. She added that it was too early to tell whether any of the incidents were related.

Zoner urged members of the Cornell community to report suspicious people or activity directly to CUPD.

The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the Monday night incident, was unavailable for comment.

Original Author: Michael Stratford