For the second time in less than a month, the University of Montana Police Department has fielded reports of a man in a ski mask threatening students on campus after dark.
A UM alert sent out at 12:39 a.m. Tuesday states a student was walking near the Adams center and McGill Hall around 9 p.m. Monday when he "heard the sound of running coming from his left."
The student reported seeing a person about 6 feet tall with a black hoodie, gray sweat pants and wearing a black ski mask running toward him with a sword or knife. The student turned and ran to safety, unsure if the threatening figure had followed him, according to the alert.
Lt. Brad Giffin said UMPD is considering Monday's incident to be tied to an October report also involving a black masked suspect physically threatening a student.
"We're looking at it in that perspective," Giffin said. "The clothing is similar, location is similar, description similar."
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Monday's event was nearly four weeks after a student told UMPD he was walking in the same area of campus, this time between Washington-Grizzly Stadium and the Fitness and Recreation Center, and was tackled and dragged into a doorway by a man described as about 5 foot 10 inches tall and also wearing a black mask. The report from UM said the unknown male held the alleged victim there until he was able to strike him and escape.
There are no security cameras in the area that captured the event, although Giffin said UMPD has increased its foot patrols in the area around the north end of campus. He believes law enforcement's best chance for a break will be someone coming forward.
"If anyone sees something, say something, the sooner the better," Giffin said. "If there's something strange about a person they know, let us know. The general break you get is usually from the most unexpected reporter."
The investigation into Monday's incident is ongoing. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call UMPD at 243-6131.