EAST STROUDSBURG — Police in the Poconos are beefing up patrols in and around one college campus after a student reported being forced into a car and assaulted.
Police are concerned for the safety of students and the community especially because there have been two similar incidents since classes began in August.
East Stroudsburg University students said they are very concerned after the school alerted them through e-mail about the attempted abduction of a student over the weekend.
Police said a female student reported she was forced into a car just off campus, but managed to escape.
“My safety is definitely in jeopardy. I couldn’t even imagine if that were to happen to me, I have no idea,” said Nicole Besemer, an ESU Senior.
“It’s very scary to hear that,” said Bridget McCarron, an ESU Senior.
Police said the weekend attempted abduction was the third incident involving a female East Stroudsburg University student in the past two months.
Police said in September, a female student was running off campus when she was approached by someone. She managed to get away.
“It seemed a little suspicious. He put his arm around her waist and told her she shouldn’t be out running alone,” said Captain Brian Kimmins of the Stroud Area Regional Police Department.
“It’s a scary thing, it is. You have to be careful,” said McCarron.
McCarron said the news rattles her, especially because she’s part of the University’s Cross County team.
“I do run by myself a lot. I do take caution. I’ll never run by myself at night. I always run on streets that are pretty busy,” said McCarron.
The second incident is the most violent.
Police said last month a female student claims she was walking back to campus when she was approached by two men in dark hooded sweatshirts.
She said they pushed her to the ground, forced her into a car and drove her to a building in the area.
She then escaped back to campus.
“They’re being targeted. There are individuals that are either lying in wait or know students travel these areas,” said Chief Robin Olson, of the East Stroudsburg University Police Department.
Police believe all three incidents may be connected. They all happened just off campus and they all involved the same vehicle, a dark-red, four-door sedan.
“We need the eyes and ears of the public to help us with this one,” said Captain Kimmins.
Stroud Area Regional Police said if you have any information about these incidents, call them at (570) 421-6800.
Police also want to remind students and the community to travel in groups and in well-lit areas.