UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.
University Police Department (UPD) chief George Hughes said the victim, who is not a Cal Poly student, is working with authorities in a multi-agency effort to track down the man who allegedly attempted to rob and stab the victim early Thursday morning.
Based on the description the victim provided, Hughes said university police are working with the San Luis Obispo Police Department to try and identify homeless individuals in the surrounding area who match the suspect’s description. UPD is also contacting a sketch artist who may be able to render an image of the suspect.
“This person actually got a pretty good description of the suspect,” Hughes said. “A lot of times we don’t have a good description to work with.”
The two officers who responded to a 12:45 a.m. call notified the on-duty sergeant, UPD Commander Lori Hashim, as well as Hughes, the police chief said. Due to a delay in contacting Hashim and Hughes, who both authorized emergency messages to the campus community, students did not receive an alert until approximately 3 a.m. — nearly three hours after the alleged attack.
“I wish we had gotten it out a little earlier,” Hughes said. “But as soon as (Hashim) and I knew, we decided to put out the timely warning.”
University Housing also learned of the incident in the Village Drive parking structure from university police.
“UPD informed us of the situation and let us know that the safety alert was going to be coming out,” director of housing and residential life Carole Schaffer said.
University Housing’s role is to get safety messages out to students, making sure they stay informed, Schaffer said.
An email was sent to all students who live on campus informing students of the incident’s details and providing 11 additional safety tips. The email refers students to the Safer program and the self-defense programs it offers.
Additional information about the incident and posters with safety tips will be placed near all on-campus living areas, individual residence hall Facebook pages and on University Housing TV, Schaffer said.
All students and visitors should practice safe behavior when walking around at night, Hughes said. He advised students to let friends and roommates know their location, travel in groups, have their cell phone on them at all times and be aware of their surroundings.
“I think San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly always presents as being a very safe community,” Schaffer said. “But we always have to remember our basic tips on safety.”
UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.
In a second safety advisory released Thursday, university police stated the suspect confronted a male who was walking by himself to his car in the Village Drive parking structure. The suspect allegedly showed the victim a knife and demanded all of his possessions. When the victim refused, the suspect slashed his shirt and left a scratch on his chest, police said.
After a brief struggle, the suspect allegedly fled the parking structure toward its main entrance. The victim chased the suspect and last saw him heading toward Truckee Road, according to police.
In addition to the suspect’s previous description, the new safety advisory states he has “a sunken face with dark eyes.” Anyone with information on the attack is asked to call university police at (805) 756-2281.
An unknown suspect attacked a victim and tried to rob them in the Village Drive Parking structure this morning at about 12:15 a.m., according to a crime alert issued by Cal Poly University Police Department (UPD).
An unknown white male, described as being approximately six feet tall, extremely thin, with brown hair and wearing a gray hooded jacket and faded, ripped jeans approached the victim with a knife, demanding the victim’s possessions, according to the UPD email.
The victim fought off the alleged attacker, sustaining a superficial wound, according to UPD. The attacker was last seen near Village Drive and H-16 parking lot, according to the UPD alert.
UPD urges people to pay attention to their surroundings and call 911 if the suspect is spotted.
Victoria Billings and Sean McMinn and Holly Dickson contributed to this article.