Police investigate spate of Tobacco Trail attacks

Jun. 09, 2014 @ 06:28 PM

A woman told Durham police on Monday that she saw five teens try to attack a bicyclist on the American Tobacco Trail.

It was the third incident on the trail near Fayetteville and Pilot streets in the past few days.

On Thursday, a man told police he was riding his bike south on the trail from Otis Street about 12:30 p.m. when a teen punched him in the face and knocked him off his bicycle. The teen said nothing and didn’t try to rob him.

The victim got up and chased the teen, but couldn’t catch him.

He described the suspect as a black male, 14 to 16 years old, 5 feet 10, with medium build and close-cut hair. He wore a black shirt, dark pants and a sweatshirt around his shoulders. He walked with three other teens who didn’t participate in the assault.

Friday night, just before 8 p.m., a man and woman were approached by four teens on the trail near Pilot Street.

One teen asked to use the man’s cell phone. When he refused, the teens punched him several times in the face, police said. They took his phone and an iPod before fleeing.

The suspect who asked for the phone was described as a black male, 5 feet 4 to 5 feet 6, wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.

The incident on Monday, about 1 p.m. near Pilot and Fayetteville streets, involved five teens blocking the trail. They tried to attack a cyclist, but he was able to elude them.

Police offer the following tips:

-- Call 911 to report suspicious activity. Be aware of surroundings at all times.

-- Walk in well-lit areas that aren’t isolated.

-- If you’re followed, get away fast, change directions and head toward a safe location.

-- Carry a personal alarm to deter potential attackers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator J. Locklear at 919-560-4415, ext. 29309, or CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.

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