Durham County

Kidnap attempt on Duke campus leaves police scrambling for info on suspect van

Campus police at Duke University are looking for information about this van, which was allegedly involved in a Friday morning kidnap attempt incident on Yearby Avenue.
Campus police at Duke University are looking for information about this van, which was allegedly involved in a Friday morning kidnap attempt incident on Yearby Avenue. Duke University

Campus police at Duke University are investigating reports that a man in a white van tried to kidnap a female student near Central Campus on Friday morning.

Vice President for Student Affairs Larrry Moneta emailed students Friday afternoon to say police are “fully engaged” and that the university “will continue to deploy additional security staff on Central Campus as we have for quite a while.”

A related posting on the university’s Duke Today web site included a picture of the van and a request that anyone with information about it contact Duke police at 919-684-2444.

The incident reportedly happened on Yearby Avenue near Anderson Street at about 10 a.m. on Friday.

Moneta said the student reported that the van pulled up to a stop sign and its driver opened its “school bus-style entry door.”

The driver then said, “You are my dream, get in the van,” Moneta said in his 3:21 p.m. email to students about the report.

The woman walked away and found a security officer on Anderson Street. The van was last seen traveling toward Duke University Road.

Moneta’s email included a description of the driver as a black man in his 20s with “slight facial hair.”

The university’s Duke Alert web page as of 3:37 p.m. was saying the institution “has no emergencies to report and is operating normally.”

City officials were “not aware” of any report on the matter as of 2:51 p.m., City Manager Tom Bonfield said.

“Information about this incident is spreading widely across social media and while I do not want to minimize the troubling nature of this incident, I do want to calm excessive fears,” Moneta said.

Ray Gronberg: 919-419-6648, @rcgronberg

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