UNCW police search for three suspects in Thursday night assault on student

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Officers with the UNC-Wilmington Police Department are searching for three suspects in connection with an assault in a campus parking lot that sent a student to the hospital Thursday night.

According to UNCW Police Department Assistant Chief Maj. Chris Bertram, officers received a call from a student at about 9 p.m. Thursday, reporting she had been physically assaulted in the H Lot located near the Racine Drive intersection and across from the campus water tower near Friday Hall.

The student reported that about 30 minutes prior to calling police, she was walking back to her vehicle from the library when three males wearing dark clothing and ski masks assaulted her and hit her with a pipe, Bertram said. The incident was not a robbery, he added.

The student suffered an abrasion and a cut above her right eye. The student was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center to be treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Bertram said. Responding officers were not able to locate the suspects. Following the report Thursday night, the university  sent out a campus-wide warning about the incident to faculty, staff and students, he added.

In what Bertram described as a “rare” type of incident for the UNCW campus, police did increase patrols and were highly visible throughout the night. Wilmington police did offer their K9 unit to track the suspects, but Bertram said that since a significant amount of time had passed before the assault was reported, the suspects were unable to be tracked.

“This is not the type of thing that occurs on our campus,” Bertram said. “This is rare for us. Our biggest crime is…bike theft.”

On average, the campus has about one assault per year, he added.

The investigation is ongoing and police are working to identify the suspects. Anyone information about this incident is asked to contact UNCW Police at 910-962-2222 or 910-962-TIPS. The police department asks those on campus to be aware of their surroundings at all times and report any suspicious behavior immediately.