An unknown man stalked and fondled a woman walking to her home on Arch Street early yesterday morning.

According to Ann Arbor Police Department reports, the woman first noticed the man following her at approximately 2:40 a.m. while she was talking to her boyfriend on her cell phone.

After the conversation ended, the victim again noticed the man behind her. AAPD reports state that the woman purposefully sped up her pace and was almost home when the man grabbed her from behind. The man fled on foot after the victim began to scream.

AAPD officers, along with a tracking dog, searched the area for the suspect but were unable to locate him. They are continuing to search for the man.

“We attempted a track which was unsuccessful. Officers continued to check the area for at least an hour after the incident,” AAPD Sgt. Tom Seyfried said.

The woman, a recent University graduate who wished to remain anonymous, said she was walking home from a downtown bar. She said she noticed the man while walking on Arch Street near Packard Street, but she did not pay attention to him.

“I saw enough to see that it was a guy,” she said, adding that she didn’t think he was a threat. “I could see my house. I was almost home.”

When she saw him again, she began picking up her pace. When the man also picked up his pace, she began to run, but he caught up with her and grabbed her from behind.

The victim said the man put one arm over her shoulder and his other hand between her legs. He did not speak to her or try to steal her belongings, she said.

She described him as being a white male about five-feet-six or five-feet-seven, but said because she was jumped from behind and had not originally paid much attention to him, she did not get a clear view.

The victim said she then began screaming, hoping that her housemates or somebody in the area would hear her. The screams apparently caused the attacker to set the victim loose. It’s unknown what direction he left in.

“The police said the best thing I could have done is yelled … most people freeze up,” the victim said. “But if it had happened farther down the street – like the Oakland and Arch area that is very darkly lit – I probably wouldn’t have screamed either because I wouldn’t have thought anybody would hear me.”

Other students living in the area, on the south side of campus near the Campus Corner party store and Elbel Field, said the lack of lighting on the streets concerns them.

“It’s not well-lit at all,” said LSA sophomore Andrea Bosco, who lives on Benjamin Street. “It would definitely be more comforting as far as having more lights.”

But Bosco said she does not believe any area of campus is more or less dangerous than the surrounding areas. “I lived in the dorm last year in Bursley, and we had peeping toms and other incidents all the way out on North Campus,” she said. “Assaults are nothing new but definitely something to be aware of.”

Seyfried said there are several thingsstudents can do to ensure their safety while walking at night.

“It’s disconcerting to me when I’m out on the street at night how many women are out by themselves,” he said. “It’s best to travel in numbers late at night and to stay off cell phones. You’re not paying attention to your surroundings when you are talking on the phone.”

Though the victim said she realizes now how dangerous it is for women to walk home alone, she said it’s hard to avoid doing so in Ann Arbor and especially in the area she lives.

“There are a lot of times when you are walking by yourself and you don’t really think about being attacked, but it can happen,” she said. “I have to walk alone almost every night. We park our cars on the street … I know a lot of students who have to park away from their houses.”

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