Pittsburg police investigate possible link between burglary... - KOAM TV 7

UPDATE: PSU Police Say Abduction Unfounded

Updated October 1st 10:40a.m.:

University News Release

Authorities say abduction claim unfounded


Pittsburg State University police have determined that last week's report of an alleged abduction on campus was unfounded and without merit. Authorities also say that several reports related to this incident appear to also have been untrue.


"These cases have been a priority for our office, and for our partners at the Pittsburg Police Department and Crawford County Sheriff's Department since it was first reported," said Mike McCracken, director of university police. "After fully reviewing the facts, we feel confident that no abduction took place and that the related events were also fabricated."


The alleged abduction was reported by the victim during the afternoon hours on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The additional incidents include the report of an off campus burglary that occurred in late August.


Pittsburg State University police, Pittsburg Police and authorities with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation began to investigate the matter immediately upon receiving these reports.


"You always hope these types of cases are resolved in this manner," said McCracken. "Our students' safety is our first priority, and as you can see, we take these matters seriously. We're very proud of the safe campus environment that we're able to provide for our students."


Updated September 26, 2013 at 3:15 PM CST:

Police investigate possible link between cases

Pittsburg State University Police believe the alleged abduction of a PSU student may be connected to a burglary that took place off campus last month.

The alleged abduction reportedly took place on Tuesday afternoon near the Overman Student Center. The victim, who is an international student, was located later that day on a public street east of Pittsburg after contacting authorities to report the incident.

She was treated for minor injuries at Via Christi Hospital and later released.

"We believe this alleged incident may be connected to an aggravated burglary and aggravated battery case that Pittsburg police investigated last month," said Mike McCracken, director of university police. "A suspect's description was released in that case and we are seeking that same suspect in connection with this week's incident."

Pittsburg police described the individual as possibly being a Saudi Arabian male approximately 20-30 years old, tall, muscular, dark skin and having curly shoulder-length black hair. He may have a tattoo or discoloration of some sort on the back of his left hand.

"There are still many questions surrounding the circumstances of the alleged abduction," said McCracken. "It's important to note that we believe this was an isolated incident.  We're continuing to follow up on all leads at this time and ask anyone who might have information about this case to contact local law enforcement."

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UPDATED SEPTEMBER 26 at 4:30 PM CST:  Details are released about emergency alerts that were sent out to PSU students.  The alerts centered around an alleged abduction.  Police say they had every student's safety in mind while sending out these alerts.  But many students wish police had told them more details.

The alerts were delivered by phone call, text message, and e-mail.

"It was very abrupt," says PSU student Diane Rutledge.

There were several words in the alerts, but students say curiosity left them hanging.

"When I got some free time, I got on my iPad and checked it out.  But I couldn't find anything out online," says PSU student Trevell Robinson.

Without answers, there was fear, regardless of an assurance from campus police.

"That's my biggest fear, is getting taken or stolen," says PSU student Kayla Yancey.

Twelve minutes after the first alert about an alleged abduction was sent out by PSU police, another delivered message read, "The abduction victim has been located.  The investigation is continuing.  There is no immediate threat to the public."

"More information would be nice, because the students here wouldn't know if it was safe or if they just assumed it was safe," says Rutledge.

PSU police admit there were rumors.

"There was an initial report of a vehicle, I know, went out on a lot of social media sites.  That was inaccurate," says PSU Police Chief Mike McCracken.

Pitt PD posted the clarification on its Facebook page.  One day after the incident happened, the university said in a media release that the alleged abduction occurred near the Overman Student Center.  The victim was located later in the day on a street, and taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  

PSU and city police are investigating the case, because the incident happened both on and off campus.

"We're still trying to identify exactly who the suspect was," says McCracken.

Click the associated video to see what role two police departments will have in investigating this case.



Authorities investigate abduction allegation

Pittsburg State University Police and Pittsburg Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding an alleged abduction of a PSUstudent on Tuesday. 

The victim of the alleged abduction, which reportedly occurred Tuesday afternoon in an area near the Overman Student Center, was located later that day on a public street east of Pittsburg after contacting authorities to report the incident. The student was then taken to Via Christi Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

"Many of the details surrounding this incident are unclear at this time," said Mike McCracken, director of university police. "We believe this is an isolated incident and are following up on all leads at this time. We are asking anyone who might have information regarding this case to contact local law enforcement."

The identity of the alleged victim is not being released at this time.

In this case, the victim of the alleged abduction was found off-campus, and therefore the Pittsburg Police Department responded to the call.

"The initial response to any alleged crime is a delicate time for investigators," explained McCracken. "You want to be certain you are able to gather all pertinent information without compromising your investigation. It' soften why so few details are initially released."

As detectives worked the case, Pittsburg State Police issued a general alert to students to make them aware of the possible abduction.

"We didn't have a lot of details at that time, but we wanted to make certain our students were aware of the situation," said McCracken. "The safety of our students is our priority, and anytime we feel there is an event that could potentially compromise that safety, we'll issue an alert."

The university notified students of the alleged abduction using anew communication system known as RAVE. The system, which was installed in the spring of this year, allows law enforcement to send alerts through multiple channels at once.

"It's a huge improvement over our prior system," said McCracken."Using a single system we can now alert our campus through e-mail, text, and phone at the same time. The system also takes over computer screens throughout campus with details of the alert."

Although the RAVE system has been tested throughout the semester,Tuesday's event is the first time it has been used for an actual alert.

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