Police investigating attacks near UF campus - FOX 13 News

Police investigating attacks near UF campus

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Students are on high alert on the campus of the University of Florida after three reported attacks near the campus in the past three months.

Two of them were raped, and their attacker is still on the loose.

So far, police say they don't have reason to believe the attacks are related, but they're looking into the possibility.

The most recent one happened Tuesday at an off-campus apartment complex.

Gainesville police spokesperson Ben Tobias said the woman had walked out to her car to get a book and some study materials when she was attacked.

"The subject reportedly grabbed her and placed what she believes to be handgun to her head, bound her hands and bound her mouth with a piece of a torn up shirt, and pushed her to the ground," Tobias said.

According to investigators, the victim kicked her attacker in the groin, hurting and startling him, giving her a few seconds to get up and run to her apartment. Police said her roommates then called 911 while they untied the ripped t-shirt that the suspect had tied around her mouth and hands.

Last Monday, a man broke into a home and sexually assaulted and robbed a student.

And on January 24th, a woman playing racquet ball at a Gainesville park says she was attacked when she went to get a ball that went over a wall.

The reports have many UF students exercising extra caution. Senior Sanika Dang isn't making the mistake of sleeping with her door unlocked anymore, knowing an attacker or a few of them are still out there.

"It is scary. I'm not the only person who accidentally leaves their door open," she said. "Because there have been so many and none are solved, it's a big talk on campus."

Detectives say they're working several leads and are upping patrols both marked and unmarked. They aren't ready to say the cases are all linked, but they aren't ruling it out either.

"The last three were very brazen attacks and it would be nice if they were all related, so with one arrest we could clear three cases," Tobias said.

Katherine Tison is a freshman from Tampa who says she makes it a point to never go out alone.

"I am not willing to walk anywhere by myself," Tison said.

Students say there is a feeling of relief knowing none of the attacks have been on campus. But nevertheless, they're going to stay on alert until the suspects are behind bars.

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