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Man Attacks Runner in the Fan

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A runner in the Fan was assaulted last week, raising fears that a serial attacker is prowling the area.

When Stefanie Lutz turned onto the 300 block of North Davis Avenue around 7 p.m. Aug. 6, a man ran up behind her and attempted to pull down her pants. She kept them up, but fell in the struggle. The driver of a passing Jeep stopped to help and the man ran off. Lutz escaped without injury.

The attacker was an athletically built white male with close-cropped hair in his late 20s to early 30s. Lutz, a 26-year-old graphic designer and illustrator, says she's surprised the attack happened in the daytime. "It was really bright out," she says. "It hadn't even hit dusk yet."

A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Lutz says she typically runs about three miles between four and five times a week — usually when it's still light out. She says it's possible the attacker followed her earlier on her run.

Richmond police say a man with a similar description grabbed and sexually battered a woman walking on the 2100 block of West Main Street before 1 a.m. on Oct. 15. Investigations into both incidents are ongoing. Police urge people to be aware while walking or running and to refrain from wearing headphones.

Since the attack, Lutz is warning others to be careful, posting a long message on Facebook and sharing her story on Hollaback Richmond, a website dedicated to ending street harassment. "I want to get my story out to everyone," Lutz says. "I really want other people to know."

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