PSU student says man grabbed her, took her phone

PSU student says man grabbed her, took her phone »Play Video
Police are investigating what happened inside Portland State University's Neuberger Hall Sunday night. A female student said a man grabbed her and took her phone. KATU photo.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Students at Portland State University are on alert again after campus police say a woman was grabbed and robbed inside one of the college's buildings.

A student said she was walking on the second floor of Neuberger Hall around 8 p.m. Sunday when a man grabbed her from behind, held her and took her phone. She said he then ran toward Hall Street.

Police are looking for a white male in his mid 20s. He is about 6 feet tall, weighs between 170 and 180 pounds and has short, brown hair. He was wearing a gray hoodie and black jeans.

We met a student who said she helped the victim as she ran from the building screaming for help. Freshman Whitney Hilde said she was passing by Neuberger Hall Saturday night when a student ran outside, panicked.

"She was screaming and crying," Hilde said. "I didn't know what to do at first and then instinctively I ran up to her and asked her what was wrong."

"She said she was on the phone with her friend and as she hung up, she saw a guy behind her and he started running and she got scared," Hilde added. "So she started running too, but he grabbed her from behind and took her phone and left."

Hilde said it is a little unnerving just how open some of the buildings at Portland State University are to the public.

We talked to a campus police officer who was on the overnight shift and asked how easy it is to get inside the buildings at the college. He said classes go until 10 p.m. and you don't need any special identification, so the suspect could be a student or someone off the street.

Phil Zerzan, Chief of Campus Public Safety at Portland State University, said he is constantly reviewing security at the school's 57 buildings. He said he isn't concerned that the campus is any less safe than in years past, despite this being the third report of an attack since the school year started.

Last month, a woman told police someone groped her outside a building. Police believe Timothy Webster was the groper. Authorities arrested him last month in Seattle on unrelated charges.

A suspect who hit and sexually assaulted a Portland State University student last November has not been caught. Police provided the sketch below: