Sexual assault reported on UCI campus

IRVINE, Calif. The attack comes as quite a shock to many. Irvine has a reputation for being a very safe area.

A text message went out hours after the attack warning students of what allegedly happened on the campus of UC Irvine. A woman said she was sexually assaulted near the Mesa Court Parking Lot 5 as she walked from her friend's apartment back to her own place, which was a half-mile away.

"The suspect walked up from behind and used a sharp object to force himself upon the victim," said Lieutenant Baltazar De La Riva, UCI Police.

According to police, the only things the suspect said to the victim were not to say anything and to be quiet.

The assault was reported about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.

"It's really scary to think about. I was just out here in the parking lot just the day before kind of late and that could have been me. It's a really scary thought," said Erika Casdorph, UCI student.

Many students say they're not taking any chances.

"I'm not even going out at night anymore. And we lock our doors and just make sure people know not to be out late at night," said Katie Croghan, another UCI student.

Police say the last time a student was sexually assaulted on campus by a stranger was several years ago. For four years, the city of Irvine has been named the safest big city in the United States.

"People like that are everywhere and you just have to be super careful ... and always be with someone when you go somewhere," said UCI student Amanda Andrews.

Police are hoping anyone who saw what happened will come forward with any information to help locate the suspect.

"The information that the victim was able to provide is very limited ... to a male, about 5' 8", 170 to 180 pounds, wearing dark jeans," said Lt. De La Riva.

If you have any information about this case, you should call the UCI Police at (949) 824-5223.

Police are also urging students to walk with a buddy. However, if you are alone, authorities say you should call the safety escort line. The number is (949) 824-SAFE. The service is free.


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