A teenager out for a late night jog Tuesday night in Rochester, Minn., was attacked by a man, but escaped when she punched the attacker in the chest and broke free.
The 16-year-old had earbuds in as she ran on SW. Elmwood Place around 11:15 p.m. That is when she thought a man standing across the street said something to her. The attacker approached and grabbed the girl by the shoulders. The girl fought him off and ran away and called police, said Capt. John Sherwin of the Rochester Police Department.
The attempted assault was the third on young women in the past week. A 17-year-old girl was punched in the face and dragged a short distance by a man around 9:40 p.m. May 31 while she was walking on a frontage road on the 1800 block of NW. 37th Street. She kicked the suspect and was able to get away, he said.
On June 2, a man sneaked up behind a woman standing outside of her house on the 100 block of NW. 7th Street. The man hit the 25-year-old woman in the head multiple times and attempted to choke her. The victim was able to fight off the attacker and ran four blocks before pulling out her cellphone to call police.
The incidents have sparked concern because “we don’t experience these kinds of incidents,” Sherwin said. “Not three in a week with a similar MO.”
Sherwin believes the attacks are related, but police don’t have a clear description of the suspect.
Sherwin said the attacks serve as a reminder for people to be aware of their surroundings, especially at night. He also encouraged residents to call police if they see someone lurking in neighborhoods or suspicious vehicles or activity.
Anybody with information can leave an anonymous tip through CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.