UCF Police increasing patrols after student reports being grabbed

By David Bodden and Julie Gargotta, Team Coverage
Last Updated: Thursday, January 11, 2018, 7:53 PM EST

After a female UCF student reported being grabbed on campus Wednesday, UCF Police are increasing patrols and taking another look at a similar incident from last month.

At about 5:50 p.m. Wednesday, a man who was lingering around vending machines inside a business administration building started talking to the student as she walked by and then touched her inappropriately, she told UCF Police.

The woman said she ran away and reported the incident to police about an hour later.

The man was described as dark-skinned, about 5-foot-7 and between 19-24 years old, thinly built. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans. He had a black backpack and black glasses, a UCF Police report said.

A student said she was shaken by Wednesday's incident.

"It's kind of scary, because a lot of the time when we hear about things like this, it makes it seem like the campus is not as safe as we would like it to be," Rebecca Vollmann said.

UCF Police said a similar incident was reported in the same part of campus in December, around 7 p.m., and detectives are revisiting that incident as well as looking at surveillance video from Wednesday's report.

Another student reported to campus police that a man, described to be around 5'5" and tan, tried to grab her.

Safety at UCF

Despite the incidents, several students on campus Thursday told News 13 that they weren't overly concerned.

“UCF is a safe place and I feel comfortable here," said Daniel Haidermota, a freshman at the school.

Haidermota said that he was in the area of this week's attack when he got an alert from UCF.

“I’m kind of glad they said something, so now I know to look out for this guy," he said.

Though senior student, Jennifer Cicero, busy training for a triathlon, said that she didn't see the bulletin.

“I have not really heard of that happening a whole lot, so of course, that’s not okay," she said.

Cicero said that while she's alarmed, she feels that being at a large university, "these things do happen," and she's cognizant of not putting herself in situations where she could be vulnerable.

"I find that I don't really do that to myself," she said. "I feel sometimes it is a little dark on campus. But I do feel safe."

The health sciences student added that after long, late hours studying at the library, she'll often take advantage of the school's free shuttle.

“You kind of have to be smart when you’re traveling at night, you shouldn’t be by yourself," she said.

Another attack

Earlier in the week, at a different school, a female student told deputies that a man came into the women's bathroom as she was washing her hands.

The incident happened at Valencia College's east campus Tuesday night, around 8 p.m.

According to the incident report, just released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office Thursday night, the victim said that the suspect tried to take off her clothing as she repeatedly yelled he was trying to rape her.

After a two minute struggle, he ran off towards Building #5, chased by several people.

The suspect in the attack has not yet been caught.

Police said at this time, the incident at UCF doesn't appear to be related to an attempted sexual battery that happened on the east campus of Valencia College just a day before.

Anyone with information on either incident is asked to call UCF Police 407-823-5555 or 911.