Woman sexually assaulted near Pitt’s campus while walking home early Sunday morning, police say

PITTSBURGH — University of Pittsburgh Police and Pittsburgh Police are investigating an early morning sexual assault near campus.

In a crime alert issued Sunday morning, Pitt police say a woman was sexually assaulted around 2:10 a.m. on Melwood Avenue between Centre Avenue and Bayard Street.

Pittsburgh police say the woman had just gotten off a PRT bus and was walking to her apartment while on the phone when a man came up behind her, said he had a weapon and told her to stop talking on the phone. He then assaulted her in an alley, threatened to kill her and punched her in the eye.

The woman told police she saw a knife during the assault and that the man stole her phone. She was able to call 911 after he got “scared off” and ran.

Police say someone in the area also called 911 after hearing what he thought was a sexual assault.

Both departments describe the suspect as a man who is approximately 30-40 years of age, has a thin build and stands about 5 feet, 6 inches tall or, 5 feet, 7 inches tall. The man was last seen wearing a long-sleeve black shirt, cargo pants and a ski mask.

A neighbor who spoke with Channel 11 called the assault “very frightening.”

“To be a young woman myself, and I’m by myself a lot, so that is super alarming in this neighborhood,” said neighbor Stacey Hardman.

Hardman said she usually feels safe in the area and that it’s a wonderful place to live where everyone knows each other. But, until police track down the suspect, she’ll take extra precautions to stay safe.

“[I’ll] definitely try to walk with my husband or someone to work. I walk to work every day here, so yeah, definitely making sure I have mace on me or some type of protection when I’m walking out,” Hardman said.

Anyone with information about this incident should call Pittsburgh Police’s Special Victims Unit at 412-323-7141, Pitt Police at 412-624-2121 and reference report #24-00770, or 911.

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