Police dismiss trafficking rumors, urge vigilance following Northgate-area sexual assaults

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 3:59 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - In the wake of two sexual assaults that occurred over the weekend in Bryan, area police departments are addressing concerns from residents, students, and parents. Online posts detailing alleged human trafficking tactics are gaining attention on social media, but Bryan, College Station, and Texas A&M University police departments say these reports “do not pose any credible threat.”

In a joint statement, the area police departments said they’ve all received calls about zip-ties being placed on trash cans. After looking into the zip-tie reports, they didn’t find a link to any criminal activity.

College Station police said Thursday that zip ties have been on trash cans for several years. Code Enforcement would tag trash and recycling bins for being overfilled or out on the curb past a certain amount of time.

However, the two recent sexual assaults are credible threats that police say the community needs to stay vigilant against.

“The fact of it is, we have two sexual assaults that we’re investigating. And what we want people in the community to do right now is be vigilant of their surroundings. Ensure that you’re locking your doors and paying attention to what’s happening around you rather than looking at what may be on your door or on your trashcan,” Bryan Police Officer Kole Taylor said.

“The safety of our community has no borders. It is the goal of every law enforcement agency to protect the citizens that we serve,” the statement said.

Two people were attacked and sexually assaulted in the residential area north of the Northgate Entertainment District, roughly between Texas Avenue and Wellborn Road, south of Villa Maria Road. Police are still searching for the suspect. Residents are urged to lock all doors and windows and report any suspicious activity.

“Just be mindful of what you’re sharing. If you’re going to be sharing posts about something happening, make sure it’s coming from a credible source,” Taylor said. “We’re still running this operation for our sexual assaults as hard as we can. So we’ve got multiple officers working special assignments around the clock until we find this suspect. So you can expect to see extra police, you may not always see police, but they’re going to be out.”

Police only have a vague description of the suspect, but home surveillance videos of what police say are images of a person of interest are helping with the investigation.

The Sexual Assault Resource Center of Brazos Valley says highly publicized crimes like this can panic or anxiety for anyone, especially a survivor. Executive Director Lindsey LeBlanc, says it’s important to reach out if you need help and make sure you know when enough is enough.

“Understand that a lot of what we’re seeing on social media right now isn’t directly tied to the sexual assaults. Our law enforcement agencies are collaborating together, we’re collaborating with them as well, ensuring that we’re doing our part to look at commonalities and make sure we’re taking care of survivors, no matter the circumstances,” she said. “If a survivor just needs to process with somebody just needs to talk through it. We’re here, we’re ready. Our counselors, of course, are seeing clients as we always do, and ensuring that our clients are okay.”

SARC has a 24/7 crisis hotline, contact (979) 731-1000 for help.