Timely Warning: Police receive report of suspicious activity of “offers to give a ride”

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(The following announcement is being shared as a public service to broaden its distribution. Source: IowaNow by University of Iowa Police, 2014.02.14 | 03:49 PM.)

At 1:25 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, an Iowa City police officer observed a vehicle following a male pedestrian traveling in the area of Bowery and Johnson Streets.

The vehicle stopped alongside the curb and the occupants attempted to speak to the male. The pedestrian appeared very uncomfortable and continued walking. The pedestrian informed the Iowa City police officer that he did not know the driver or passenger. They inquired if he was a college student and when he replied “yes,” they told him to get in the vehicle so they could give him a ride. The student continued walking on his way.

The Iowa City police officer stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver and passenger; they denied speaking with the student. During a routine check, it was discovered that the driver was illegally driving while under suspension and was so charged.

The vehicle is described as a gray 2007 Dodge Caravan. The driver and passenger are described as two black males (one in his mid-40s and the other late 20s). The names of the pedestrian, the driver, and passenger of the Caravan are not being released.

In response to this incident, the University of Iowa Police Department is providing the following information. This information is general and not related to the actions of the individual in the aforementioned account.

  • Avoid accepting rides from strangers and move away from the vehicle when approached
  • You are under no obligation to communicate; don’t be concerned with appearing to be rude if you feel vulnerable
  • Always be aware of your surroundings when walking alone especially late at night and in the early morning hours
  • If approached, quickly walk/run toward other people or enter an establishment and call the police

FOR SOMEONE VULNERABLE OR AS A BYSTANDER; If you feel uneasy about a situation, trust your instincts and attempt to interrupt the chain of events. Being an active bystander doesn’t require you put yourself at risk. If practical, attempt to record pertinent information (i.e., description of vehicle and occupants, license number, distinguishing features, location and direction of travel, etc.)

This information is being released in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses, including timely warnings of crimes that may represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.

Contacts

David Visin, UI Department of Public Safety, 319-335-5027 or email to dave-visin@uiowa.edu.
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