Art student attacked in Center City

Sarah Bloomquist Image
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
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Philadelphia police are looking for a man accused of attacking a college student while trying to rob her.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police are looking for a man accused of attacking a college student while trying to rob her.

The attacked happened on Sunday, November 15th. It was just before 11:30 p.m. when the Moore College of Art and Design student left the building at 20th and Race streets to head home.

Surveillance video shows the suspect followed her, and then when she made a turn onto Cherry Street he attacked her.

The man tried repeatedly to get her attention. She kept walking and he kept following her onto the 2000 block of Cherry Street. There, the man approached her from behind, punched her several times in the torso as he tried to take her handbag.

The woman resisted, and the man fled empty handed north on Woodstock, headed toward Logan Square.

Cecilia Fitzgibbon is President of the Moore College of Art and Design. She tells us, "I received a call at 12:30 right after the incident occurred. We sent out a text alert to the entire community - immediately within an hour."

Kerry Lloyd is a student at the college, and she says, "Yeah, they put out an alert. They emailed all of us and they just said watch out, there's a man who tried to steal her purse."

Later at the police station, the victim noticed she was bleeding from the stomach, and discovered what appeared to be two small stab wounds.

The area surrounding the college and Franklin Institute has cameras on every corner. Students are taking extra precautions, but by all accounts an attack like this in this neighborhood is very rare.

Leslie Lodwick of South Philadelphia says, "It is unusual. It's a really nice area. People are always walking around. There's a lot of tourists."

And Fitzgibbon tells us, "So it is unusual. I can't recall in the four years that I have been here, I don't recall another incident of an assault on a student where they were harmed and it was an attempted robbery."

The school offered a self-defense course to students and reminded them that they can take a shuttle or get an escort.

The student who was injured in the incident was treated for the minor stab wounds. The college president said she received counseling and is doing well.

If you can identify the man in the video, you are urged to contact police.