BROOKLINE (CBS) — Brookline police are looking for a suspect they believe is responsible for attacks on two women this week in neighborhoods near Boston University.
The women were walking alone between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. when they were approached from behind. The victim in the first attack on December 1st was carrying a backpack loaded with a laptop computer, which is not so uncommon say residents in the area, many of whom are students.
WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports.
“Especially this time of year, there are finals for a lot of students. They are in the library or computer lab late at night,” said BU student Lindsay Weitzman.
Police say the 23-year-old woman felt the presence of someone behind her on Pleasant Street. She stopped to let him go by and he made his move, armed with a pocket knife, according to Brookline police Sgt. Robert Disario.
The victim wrestled with her attacker before police say he cut the backpack from her shoulder and fled through the courtyard of a nearby apartment building.
“This is a relatively safe area so people feel safer than they should,” said Mary Bowen of Brookline.
On December 2nd, a 34-year-old victim was attacked just five blocks away on Fuller Street. The suspect approached from behind, grabbing her handbags.
“She subsequently resisted and she tried to pull the bags from him. Eventually she was pulled to the ground and let go,” said Sgt. Disario.
The attacker fled down an alleyway out of sight.
It’s a neighborhood of walkers that’s left them feeling vulnerable.
“If there are no bystanders around, no one near to help me, someone armed with a knife could be armed with something more destructive,” said Emily Filippone, who lives in the neighborhood.
Police presence has increased, and police are urging residents to be on the alert rather than on cell phones and iPods.
“I usually have pepper spray, but sometimes I forget it,” said Pippa Bradberry, a Boston University student.
Based on the victims’ descriptions of the suspect, police believe the same person is responsible for both attacks.