Notre Dame student robbed and forced to drive suspect around city

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – A Notre Dame student was threatened and abducted early Tuesday morning.  The 21-year-old was picking up a pack of cigarettes and a drink from the Speedway near the intersection of South Bend Avenue and Ironwood when he was approached by a man as he walked to his car.

"I don't remember word for word exactly what he said but it was something along the lines of he had something in his pocket and he didn't want to hurt me he just wanted me to get in my car,” the student explained, he didn’t want his name revealed.  “Then when he got in my car I asked him 'where am I bringing you’ and he just told me ‘I'm going to my girlfriend's house.’"

He explained that the suspect never took his hand out of the pocket of his sweatshirt, so he never knew if the man actually had a weapon.

“I was sort of confused at first, I didn’t really know what was going on,” he described.  “It wasn’t until we got in the car together that I sort of processed what was going because until then I was just a little disoriented.”

First, the suspect ordered him to drive to the First Source Bank ATM on Main Street and forced the student to withdraw money from his bank account and hand it over to him.  Then ordered him to drive to a home on the 600-block of West LaSalle.

“Just for like 30-seconds and then we immediately turned around,” he described.

Then he was told to drive to the BP gas station at the corner of Main and Lafayette where a woman got into the car.  The suspect explained that she was his sister.  After picking her up they returned to the home on LaSalle, the suspect went inside.

“His sister was in the back seat with me for a little while…she might have had a weapon on her too,” he explained.  “I didn't know what was going on; it was very bizarre when he said it was his sister."

The suspect returned and ordered him to drive to a home near the corner of Campeau and Eddy.

"On the way there he was smoking something out of a pipe, I'm super stuffed up so I couldn't tell what it was," he explained.

Both the woman and the suspect left the car when they reached the home.  The suspect stood close to the car but turned away for a moment to speak to his sister, that’s when the student sped off.

"I definitely had a lot of adrenaline going,” he described.  “I didn't turn around to see whether he was still standing on the curb or anything like that."

He made it back to his house.  First, he called his bank to inform them of the theft and then he called police.  Then, of course, he called his parents.

"Skipped my classes the next day..I was able to call my parents..first of all they were 'are you OK, are you OK?’” he explained.  “But then after 15 minutes of just making sure I was OK they lectured me about not being out late alone."

He said he knows that his habit of staying up late and going out alone is a problem.  He was mugged outside a party in South Bend last October.  He said he plans to change his habits, partially because of what might have happened Tuesday morning if he hadn’t escaped.

"Don't want to get too macabre or think about it too much, don't want to stress myself out,” he explained.  “I definitely think it's a good thing I got away when I did…he probably would have stolen more from me, potentially could've gotten violent, it's hard to say."

He did give a description of the suspect to police.  The man had a distinctive wrinkle or burn on his face that the student has been told matches the description of a suspect in another abduction where a young man was forced to drive the suspect around to ATMs.  Police are still looking for the suspect.

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