Volume 96, Issue 95
Friday, March 28, 2003

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Students brutally assaulted at Masonville

By Anthony Lafratta
Gazette Staff

In an unprovoked incident, two Western students were brutally attacked outside of Masonville Place on Tuesday night, according to the London Police Department.

The students, a male and a female, were attacked by three men outside of the entrance to Sears at about 11 p.m., where they were sitting on a tipped over shopping cart waiting for a bus.

"The three individuals came, walked by, asked the time, then came back and demanded money," said Const. Paul Martin, spokesperson for the LPD.

When the male claimed to have no money, he was punched in the face and fell to the ground where he was further assaulted. The female victim was restrained by two of the attackers when she tried to intervene to help her friend.

The attackers left with some of the victims' personal belongings, but no money, and then walked off in what Martin referred to as a "cocky and condescending manner."

"This was a violent act – [ultimately] for a pack of gum and some lip balm," Martin said, emphasizing the pettiness of the theft. "It exemplifies how pathetic they really are and is reflective of these goons."

The victims contacted police from a business across the street.

The greater concern rests in the fact that there have been several crimes of this nature in the last few months, he explained. "I'm concerned that people will build up a certain tolerance for this kind of behaviour. We hate to see this kind of behaviour directed at students, although no one should have to face this [kind of situation]," Martin said.

The men sought by police are described as white males, aged 17 to 19, with short blond, brush-cut hair. One is described as 5'8", having worn a dark cap and sweater. Another, 5'10" with blue eyes, wore a dark shirt and beige shorts to his knees. The third attacker wore a dark top.

The general manager of Masonville Place, Michael Roberts, made it clear that he could not comment on the specifics of the crime, as it had already been handed over to the London Police.

"All I can say is that our security consistently patrols both the inside and outside of the mall, including the parking lot area," Roberts said.

John Ford, director of planning for the London Transit Commission, declined comment on the safety of city bus stops without further information on the incident from the LPD.

Anyone with information regarding Tuesday's violent incident is asked to call the police at 661-5674 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-227-TIPS.

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