Student mistakes robber for friend, witnesses describe suspect

A TCU student who was robbed said she initially thought the attacker was a friend who was playing a joke on her.On Friday around 9:45 p.m. Christine Bowling, a senior fashion merchandising major, was robbed while walking from a friend’s house on West Biddison Street off Stadium Drive.

Bowling said she and two female friends were walking when a man in a black truck got out and stole her purse. Bowling, who said she did not remember a truck passing by, said she thought it was a friend until the suspect got out of the vehicle. She said the man then dragged her against the truck and demanded that she give him the purse, which was resting on her shoulder. The suspect then punched her in the collarbone, took her purse and drove off, Bowling said.

“I don’t know if they were waiting for me, or if it was a right time, right place kind of thing,” Bowling said.

A reporter went to the TCU Police Station and was unable to obtain information. Sgt. Kelly Ham and Detective Vicki Lawson of the TCU Police Department were also called several times and were not able to be reached for comment. Kirk Byrom, neighborhood police officer with the Fort Worth Police Department, was also called but said he did not have any information on the situation. When transferred to another officer, they were also unable to be reached for comment.

A campus-wide e-mail sent by the TCU Police Department said the suspect was driving an F-150 crew-cab pickup truck and was parked on the street.

Bowling said her two friends left when she was attacked and said they called the police, who arrived within 10 minutes. The two witnesses were able to describe the truck and partially describe the suspect.

Bowling, who was walking between her two friends, said they were leaving a friend’s house to go to another friend’s house, and that the street was active with people that night. She said her first reaction was not to run because she thought it was a practical joke, but when she was punched, she became startled and was ready to run.

“You never really think it could happen to you,” Bowling said.

The police who took the report said that at the beginning of the school year people are on the prowl and know that students, particularly female students, are walking around and can be targets for this type of crime, Bowling said.

The suspect was described as a 6’2″-6’3″ Hispanic male, between 230 and 240 pounds wearing a black T-shirt, black shorts and a black cap, according to the e-mail.

Fort Worth Police will continue to investigate the crime, according to the e-mail.