A string of stranger assaults on teenage girls in the Fort Collins area have prompted the local police department to issue a warning to the public.
Three separate incidents have occurred in recent months that may or may not be related. In each incident, an unknown male suspect grabbed a teenage girl, two of which were clear ambush-style attacks. Thankfully, the victim was able to escape in each case.
The first incident occurred in August, when a teenage girl was walking by herself in Overland Park at night. On August 21 at about 9:30 PM, a man approached the teenager from behind and attempted to talk to her. After she did not engage in conversation, he pursued her and grabbed her wrist. The victim was able to escape by pepper-spraying the perpetrator and running home.
In this first incident, the suspect was described as 20 to 30 years old, around 6 feet tall with brown hair and little to no facial hair. He had an average build.
A second incident occurred on October 13, when a teenage girl was grabbed from behind while in the parking lot outside of a youth group event. The victim in this case pulled away and started to run, but tripped. At this point, the suspect grabbed her again. She was able to fight him off and get back into the building.
In this second incident, the male suspect was described as around 5-foot-10-inches. A mask, hoodie, and gloves obscured other distinguishing features.
The third incident occurred on November 23, when a teenage girl was jogging around the outside of the Edora Pool Ice Center during a sports team practice. A man appeared from behind a bush and grabbed her wrist. She was able to kick the man and escape into the building.
The suspect involved in this third incident was described as in his 20s with an athletic build, short brown hair and short facial hair, and a height of six feet.
Authorities responded to each incident, though were unable to locate a suspect in all three. No video footage was captured of any of the three encounters.
None of the victims sustained injuries with the exception of the teenager involved in the October incident. She walked away with minor scrapes and bruises.
In regard to whether or not the cases might be related, Crimes Against Persons Sergeant Heather Moore said, "These incidents happened weeks apart, took place in different locations, and may not be related at all. However, we can’t ignore the fact that they do share some similarities, which is why we’re asking our community to remain aware and let us know if they have tips about these or other similar incidents."
When on a hike in Colorado, it is crucial to stay aware of your surroundings. Situations like those described in this article aren't always avoidable, but can be prevented by staying vigilant. If you're bringing along a self-defense item, such as pepper-spray, make sure you know how to use it under pressure.
Find 12 tips for preventing a trail attack here.
STAY INFORMED: Sign-up for the daily OutThere Colorado newsletter here