By KATE SELTZER
On Tuesday June 4, a student walking near the Jepson Science Center reported that a man driving a dark colored Nissan told her to get into his car. Although a timely warning was sent out that described the incident as an attempted abduction, Lieutenant Bill Gill from the UMW Police Department said this is not the case.
“There was never any kind of physical contact,” Gill said. “A gentleman pulled up to the side of the road, pulled up to the curb, asked or told her to get into his car, she said no, [and] he made a U-turn and drove off.”
Gill said the timely warning used the descriptor “attempted abduction” in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Act, which mandates that universities are transparent and keep students informed of campus crime and potential threats. However, according to Gill, under Virginia law the encounter is likely not classified as a crime.
“I can pull up with you on any side of the road and ask you to get in my car or tell you to get in my car, it’s up to you whether you get in or not,” said Gill. “That’s not against the law.”
While the UMW police do not believe a crime occurred, they are continuing to investigate the suspicious behavior. They do not have an active suspect at this time.
“All the officers scoured the campus, checked the area, pulled videos, anything that we had, and were not able to locate any kind of information or any suspect information,” Gill said.
Gill urged students to alert the police immediately in the event they feel unsafe, mentioning the time gap between when the incident occurred at 3:10 p.m. and when it was reported at 3:50 p.m..
“When something like that happens, the first person [students] should call is the police, that way we can start putting our wheels in motion,” he said. “Let us give you the guidance, then you can notify friends and family.”