Man in minivan approaches students

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In an email sent out to students via the Public Safety Alert last night, Director of Public Safety Angela Nally informed students of several reports that have been received of students walking around campus being approached by a vehicle with a male driver, who has asked for personal information, offered a ride and physically reached out to grab one female student.

Student Marissa Brown said, “when I was walking home last night with a friend we were approached by a minivan with a male inside and he asked for our phone numbers, when we turned him down he made a few inappropriate comments and moved on to some other students.”

Brown believes this occurred slightly before the 9:45 p.m. time stamp in the email from Public Safety.

“I didn’t think he was violent at the time,” said Brown. “Reading the Public Safety email made me more concerned.”

Nally stated in the email that the Greencastle Police have identified and are following up on a suspect lead. 

“The vehicle in question is a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country minivan with an Indiana temporary tag,” Nally wrote in the email. 

In a follow-up phone call, Nally said that while the Greencastle Police have a very probable lead, they are still gathering information because no one has been able to positively identify the suspect.  Nally encourages any additional information to be forwarded to Public Safety at 765-658-5555.

Nally encourages students to utilize the buddy system, walk with friends and commented in a phone call that you are never too old for the buddy system, and that students can always ask for an escort. 

Public Safety offers escorts to students that call the Public Safety office. Safe Ride is also an option between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday and until 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Safe ride is looking for student drivers for Monday and Tuesday evenings said Nally over the phone. Safe Ride can be reached at (765) 658-5961, but as noted on the DePauw website, the line is limited to four requests at one time to manage volume.

Nally mentioned other measures that can be taken by students are to walk with vigilance and to be aware of your surroundings when walking about. As for a stance on phones, Nally said letting a friend know when you are leaving, expected to arrive or talking on the phone to let someone know where you are as you walk can be useful tools as well, although they can also be a distraction if you are in an unfamiliar area.

Other safety efforts were announced to students this week earlier in an email from President Brian Casey.  In response to a specific student concern at the student forum last Wednesday, Casey wrote, “I have directed Vice President of Finance and Administration Brad Kelsheimer to immediately allocate dollars to provide an upgrade to our campus security cameras and related equipment.”