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Police: Man tries to abduct woman near UF campus

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville police are investigating an attempted abduction early Thursday near the University of Florida campus.

According to the Gainesville Police Department, the victim was leaving the 101 Cantina at 1632 West University Ave. about 12:30 a.m. Thursday when she was suddenly grabbed by an unknown man.

The restaurant is just north of the UF campus, across the street from Keen-Flint Hall.

The victim told police that the man began pulling her away from the back entrance of the restaurant into a darkened area nearby. She struggled with the man and eventually broke free and ran back inside the cantina.

She met a friend and left the area, calling police to report the incident about 3 a.m.

The victim was not able to provide any description of her attacker, other than that he was a man.

Anyone with information about the incident or who may know the suspect's identity is asked to call the Gainesville Police Department at 352-955-1818 or text keyword GPDFL plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 352-372-STOP. 

Because of the crime's proximity to campus, the University of Florida Police Department released an alert to students and faculty about the reported attack.

The UFPD said it recognizes that violence of this nature is not the fault of the victim, but also wanted to remind everyone of these safety considerations:

  • Report suspicious activities or individuals immediately using 911
  • Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. This is particularly true if you are wearing headphones and may not be able to hear someone near or behind you.
  • If someone bothers you, don't be embarrassed to attract attention to yourself. Yell!
  • Avoid walking alone if at all possible. 
  • If someone stops and asks for directions, avoid getting close to the individual.