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Posted on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:01 a.m.

U-M student grabbed by man on Thompson Street; police say it doesn't appear to be connected to other Ann Arbor attacks

By Lee Higgins

Update: Reaction near Thursday's attack: Some U-M students feeling less safe in Ann Arbor

A man grabbed a University of Michigan student as she was walking on Thompson Street this morning, but investigators said the assault does not appear to be related to 6 other recent attacks on women in Ann Arbor, including 2 rapes.

The man grabbed the 21-year-old woman's arm about 1:50 a.m., but she struggled with him, broke free and left the area, university police said. She was not injured.


The location of the attack was near West Quad and the U-M parking structure.

From Google

The man fled in an unknown direction after the assault in the 500 block of Thompson Street near West Quad, a university police crime alert said.

Both university police and Ann Arbor police said the attack does not appear to be related to the string of other attacks in the city between July 15 and July 26. That's because the description of the suspect is different, Ann Arbor police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said.

But university police spokeswoman Diane Brown said investigators will be exploring whether there are any links. University police are leading the investigation into today's assault.

The man involved in today's attack was described as black, in his late 50s, 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with a thin build. He was clean shaven and was bald or had very short hair, the alert said. The man was wearing a green shirt, dark-colored pants and a white or light-colored baseball cap, police said. Brown said the woman was targeted as she was walking alone on a sidewalk.

"We continue to encourage our community to be very vigilant and remain aware of their surroundings at all times," Brown said.

Ann Arbor police continue to investigate the other 6 attacks and have received at least 600 tips, but have made no arrests. In each case, women walking alone late at night or early in the morning were targeted. The attacks occurred between 10:10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and investigators believe one or two men are responsible.

The first attack occurred at 10:10 p.m. July 15 near Thompson and East Liberty streets. A man grabbed a 21-year-old University of Michigan student around the neck, but she resisted, broke free and was not injured. In that case, the attacker was described as white, 29 years of age, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 165 pounds, with a medium build.

On July 18, 2 rapes occurred roughly 22 hours apart. About 12:40 a.m., an 18-year-old Ann Arbor woman was pulled into an alley and raped in the 700 block of South State Street near the University of Michigan. The woman was taken to a hospital, but police would not say whether a rape kit was submitted for DNA analysis. And between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., a 26-year-old Ypsilanti woman was raped in an elevator in the Liberty Square parking structure, police said. The victim came forward three days later.

To date, police have released two sketches of possible suspects in the attacks.

Anyone with information on this morning's attack can call university police at (734) 763-1131.

Anyone with information on the 6 other attacks can call the Ann Arbor Police Department's confidential tip line at (734) 794-6939 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) SPEAK UP. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at



Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

We need a city income tax to put more cops on the street to protect these kids.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.

That's always the answer....TAX. Gonna give everyone a personal escort? No way...self defense, whatever the form, is the answer.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

It would be very helpful to the women of our community to have a list of resources available for safely getting around town at night. What transportation services are available at night? Is there a fixed rate for taxi service in town or near campus? Can students use ID to get rides? Are safe escorts available for students and/or the general public? Has anyone compiled a list of resources?


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

my previous post was removed after it was determined to have blamed the victim[?], and asked specific questions pertaining to this crime. I am re-posting with the [in the moderator's opinion] inappropriate questions there ya go...only comments that are worthy of posting are the comments that catch the fancy of moderators on this blog of useless drivel...God forbid that anyone ask if a specific modus operandi is at work here or if all the current assaults are random...But let's see if this one will fly or have I offended the genteel society in the little fifedom? "Glad the woman was able to break free. With all of the coverage [which seemingly dried up to a light drip] I would like to think that people are taking precautions to insure their own safety. XXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXX? XX XX, XXX XXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXX Ladies, if you find yourself having to walk alone to go home at bar close, or getting out of a late movie, please, please, please take a cab or call a friend to give you a ride home. Don't under any circumstances, allow yourself to be placed in a position of vulnerability. This cannot be stressed enough!


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

FYI... and are completely unrelated to


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Thanks for the clarification! My bad.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

In regards to arming yourself while on campus, may I suggest considering pepper spray mace, or a stun gun (Tazer). Also a whistle can work as an effective deterrent. A side arm may potentially be more lethal, therefore possibly offering a heightened sense of protection. However, there is a high probability of an attacker gaining possession of the victim's weapon of choice. Better that weapon be non-lethal if turner around against the victim. I posses a CCW and am a strong supporter of personal defense. Types of weapons training classes I have participated in very often cover topics to this regard (attacker gaining the advantage with your weapon). As previously stated in prior comments, MI State Concealed Carry Laws prohibit carrying firearms on any campus. This is to include transporting firearm(s) in a vehicle while traveling on campus, unless while doing so with approved licencing through the State of MI. (i.e. Law Enforcement). A final note, Self Defense Classes are empowering and educating. To those whom may have an interest, most training facility operators and or Self Defense instructors are willing to give basic feedback to your questions. This may be helpful if there is an uncertainty as to whether a particular class is right for you.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

Also, if you have a CPL it is not illegal to drive through campus (say, down State St.) while carrying. It's a public street. In fact there is an Attorney General's statement pointing out that it isn't illegal to park in a parking lot on campus with a firearm in your vehicle. Read the law (the Michigan Legislature's website is easy enough to find, and the Michigan State Police also post all of the firearm laws on their website <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> it specifically states that dorms and classrooms are the prohibited areas on college campuses. It says nothing about streets going through campus, parking lots, etc. The law also states you can open carry in &quot;pistol free zones&quot; if you have a CPL without violating any misdemeanor-level laws. Don't take my word for it, read the MSP Legal Update #86 from last year: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

It is illegal for civilians to own/carry tasers in Michigan.

Alan Goldsmith

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

&quot;A man grabbed a University of Michigan student as she was walking on Thompson Street this morning, but investigators said the assault does not appear to be related to 6 other recent attacks on women in Ann Arbor, including 2 rapes.&quot; No, this was just a common, every day assault and not related to the scores of OTHER assaults. That's very reassuring. The Mayor might be 'comfortable' with all the Police and Firefighter cuts and it looks like the criminal element in this city is too.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

My daughter who has been at UM for 3 yrs has been instructed, very simply, that anyone who violates her space gets a damn knee in the nads. Or a palm of the hand straight up against the nose. Don't give a rat's behind about the consequences....better tried by 12 than carried by 6..... a little yooper justice.

Atlas Shrugged

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

Steven Taylor makes a good point. Arm yourselves... legally, with all the necessary training. But, there's one point that's overlooked, and I think it's a critical (but unfortunate) one: Even with all the training in the world, and fulfilling all the State of Michigan requirements for a concealed pistol license, it's not legal to carry on University property. What defines university property around here is vague: it certainly includes, for example, the diag, lecture halls, or residence halls, but what about the ostensibly &quot;public&quot; streets around it? You can walk downtown to dinner or a show on obviously public streets, where concealed carry is legal, but you can't legally possess a gun in a University parking structure if that's where you choose and are eligible to park otherwise. Heck, as far as I know (and I have a CCW), I'm not sure if I can legally drive through campus while carrying (translation: protecting myself and my family) on my way to various off-campus sites. I frankly think, no apologies offered, that if a rapist or mugger gets shot, that might send a message to the others that they might want to think more about their plans to do the same.

Steven Taylor

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

The smartest path for students to take in this instance, while perhaps hard to swallow in a town as liberal as Ann Arbor is to ARM themselves. YOU are responsible for your own safety.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

Thank goodness this lady is OK. But with all the warnings and public information about these other attacks, the message here is that NO ONE, especially women, should be walking alone around the campus and surrounding area that late at night. Not that we need it, but this incident is just more evidence that there is a crime problem around the campus in the early morning hours, and anyone walking around the area is at risk.


Fri, Aug 19, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

81 - i fully agree with you.l However, what is wrong with this picture in a bigger sense? Why should anyone, male or female, be worried about where they are walking, and when? Not arguing, just asking....


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

&quot;Comments may not presume guilt on the part of the accused, blame the victim, make blanket generalizations about groups of people, or speculate about factors that haven't been reported, among other things.&quot; Cause then the folks would have nothing left to write. ;^)

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

We'd like to remind readers of our conversation guidelines. Comments may not presume guilt on the part of the accused, blame the victim, make blanket generalizations about groups of people, or speculate about factors that haven't been reported, among other things. Full guidelines here: <a href=""></a>. Thank you in advance for adhering to this policy.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

Not related, no, but the seemingly lack leads or arrest of anyone gives an open call to anyone who wants to assault anyone. More copycats to come? It sickens me. I can only encourage people to not be out so late alone, even though they should be able to, and to perhaps carry something to protect themselves with should this happen to them.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

Please amend to add &quot;rabid&quot; to animal...


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

Dear Ricebrnr: you wrote &quot;let us hope this animal is caught soon&quot; if the attacker is an animal, then it is probably an endangered species which means that we will have to halt construction in the area to save the habitat, promote growth of the species and do everything we can to help this endangered species to survive. Let's not upgrade this individual like that.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

Ricebrnr .. nice CYA


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 11:06 a.m.

Good for her! Great job, now let us hope this animal is caught soon. Disclaimer With respect to previous victims this does not conversely mean I think you did not do enough to prevent your assualts.


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

Not sure what you are getting at but for the record, Anyone attacking anyone else especially sexually is a rabid animal in my book and should be treated accordingly. Including dissection of their brains to figure out WTH is wrong with them. Better?


Thu, Aug 18, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

Ricebrnr: I don't recall you referring to the person committing the earlier attack as an animal. I wonder why?