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Michael Melland, UW Oshkosh Police Department chief and director of Protective Services, has released information about an abduction and sexual assault that took place off-campus the night of Dec. 15.

Here is his report:

“An incident of concern to students, staff and faculty has recently occurred near campus.  In the interest of safety and with the belief that an informed community is a safer community, we are notifying you of the following incident.

“At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007, a female student reported to Oshkosh Police that they were the victim of an abduction and sexual assault. The student reported that they were walking on West New York Ave. between Wisconsin St. and Elmwood Ave. when a male forced her into the rear seat of a dark-colored, four-door sedan. The assailant was described as a white male wearing a hooded sweatshirt. There were reportedly two individuals in the front seat of the car wearing similar clothing, also believed to be white males. The student reported being sexually assaulted by the individual who had abducted her in the vehicle and that she was let out of the car some time later on the east side of Oshkosh.

“There are no known suspects at this time, and the vehicle has not been located. The circumstances of this incident are very similar to another attempted abduction/assault that occurred near campus involving a student on Nov. 16, 2007. In this prior incident, the victim was able to escape the attempted abduction.

“Anyone with any information on this incident is encouraged to contact either the Oshkosh Police Department (236-5700) or the University Police (424-1212).

“Students, staff and faculty are reminded to practice good personal safety habits and to maintain situational awareness.

“Report any incident as soon as possible.

“Plan ahead so that when you walk you are visible to other people.

“When walking, choose open, well-lit, and well-traveled areas.

“Leave your purse at home if possible. If you must carry one, hold it firmly, close to your body.

“If you work late hours, arrange to leave at the same time as a co-worker.

“Try to avoid parking far away from your work site or residence.

“When walking, be aware of your surroundings at all times by making eye contact with passers-by and glancing occasionally behind you.

“If you sense that you are being followed, change directions or cross the street. If the person/vehicle persists, run to the nearest place where you will find other people and call for help.

“Go to a public place where you can call the police whenever you feel threatened.

“Always carry a cellular phone with the police as your No. 1 speed-dial choice.

“Consider carrying pepper spray and or a personal alarm.

“Consider taking a self defense course.

“If you feel threatened, remember to utilize the blue light emergency phones on campus.  They are a direct link to the University Police Department.

“Do not engage in conversation with unknown individuals, especially if threatening language or insults have been used.

“If you have any questions about personal safety or should you have any information on these crimes, please contact the University Police at (920) 424-1212 or 1212, if on a campus phone system.”

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