By Ezra Neumann | The Broadside (Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
At the beginning of spring term, students were notified of an “attempted assault” that was later relabeled an “attempted theft” at Central Oregon Community College, reported by a student.
The incident was labeled as an assault in a brief emergency notification that was sent out, but the Bend Police Department started referring to it as an attempted theft after the notification was sent out. Don Doughty, acting director of Campus Public Safety, said that the incident took place around 11 a.m. on April 4, in the B12 parking area.
The victim had just left her class and was heading to her vehicle, where she noticed a slight tug on her backpack. She immediately turned around and pushed the individual backward, away from her. The attacker then left the scene by foot. Both the attacker and the student were unharmed during the incident. The suspect still remains at large, and has not been identified at this time according to Doughty.
Even though the attempted theft occurred around 11 a.m., CPS did not receive any information until around 7 p.m., when the student had contacted them. A text notification was then sent out with the Emergency Notification System at around 8:30 p.m., warning all students signed up to receive the notification that an attempted assault had taken place on campus that day.
First-year student Emma Monical was surprised and worried when she received the ENS notification. Seeing it labeled as an attempted assault, Monical had felt that “[The] stakes were very high, and a potentially violent individual was roaming around the COCC campus.” She was very happy to have been kept in the loop via the ENS, and was far more cautious the days following the incident while attending her classes.
Student Devin Roubles had differing concerns regarding the ENS notification that was sent out. He felt that by labeling the incident as an “attempted assault” was a premature decision made by CPS. “Assault and theft, to me, are far different things. I imagined a whole awful scenario in my head when I had heard the news, and envisioned someone entirely different than the one you had just described to me,” Roubles said. Regardless of the accuracy of the notification, Roubles was still glad to be notified of the situation on campus so that he could keep his eye out for suspicious behavior on campus.
“This is a good reminder for everyone to be alert and aware of their surroundings. We encourage everyone to report any suspicious activity that they may observe on campus,” Doughty said. For students wanting to keep an eye on campus for the individual who attempted the theft, Doughty said that the suspect is described as a white male in his 40’s, with long brown and grey hair, with a beard. During the incident, he was wearing a green jacket with blue jeans and work boots.
CPS has been conducting regular patrols around the area where the incident took place, in hopes of apprehending whoever is responsible for the attempted theft.
If anyone matching this description is seen on or near campus, Doughty strongly urges students to contact CPS with any information regarding an individual fitting the description. For any more questions regarding the incident, feel free to contact Doughty at email@example.com, or call CPS at 541-383-7272. ■