Police at IUPUI interview person of interest in connection with 2 reported rapes on campus

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police at IUPUI have identified and interviewed a person of interest in connection with two recent sexual assaults on campus.

Officers tell FOX59 that an arrest has not been made at this time.

Campus police say they got a report of a rape that occurred on April 21 at approximately 3:30 p.m. at the Riverwalk Apartments located at 1300 West Michigan Street.

The second incident involved a woman being fondled on April 24 at approximately 2:50 p.m. in the 900 block of West New York Street.

“It was just scary because the building is connected to where we live,” said IUPUI student Abbigayle Schmidt. “Just hearing that you realize it could happen to anyone.”

Students like Abbigayle who live in the Riverwalk complex say the reported sexual assaults have put everyone on alert.

“Since I heard that I have pepper spray in my bag. It was in my apartment. I didn’t think I needed it, but now I have it on me,” said Schmidt.

In both cases the suspect is said to have approached the victims and engaged them in conversation before the assaults. Because the description of the suspect is similar in both incidents, investigators believe the same man committed both crimes without knowing either victim.

“This usually doesn’t happen a lot. I feel like it hasn’t happened a lot in our area, so it’s definitely shocking,” said IUPUI student Abby Boatman.

Officials here at IUPUI says student safety is their top priority and the risk of sexual assault can be reduced if people watch out for the safety of others.

“You know it’s the responsibility of the IUPUI community to look out after each other. We can’t just look out for ourselves. We have to look out for others,” said IUPUI spokesperson Margie Smith-Simmons.

National numbers show that 1 in 5 college women will be sexually assaulted on campus. According to IUPUI’s most recent annual security report, in 2015 there were 3 rapes and 3 reports of illegal fondling on campus. In 2014 there were 5 reported rapes and 4 cases of fondling. The numbers for 2016 haven’t been compiled.

“Sexual assault on campus is a concern for us at IUPUI. Not because it happens often, but even one time is too much,” said Smith-Simmons.

Both victims described the male suspect as being 5’6” tall, weighing approximately 150 pounds, and having a dark complexion (possibly Latino). The victims also say the suspect has dark brown hair.

During the fondling incident, the victim reported that the suspect was wearing a black backpack, black Nike basketball shorts, white Nike shoes and a maroon hooded sweatshirt.

Anyone with information on this crime or any other crime is encouraged to call the IU Police Department – Indianapolis at 317-274-7911. You may also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).