URBANA — Urbana police are asking for the public's help in finding the man who pistol-whipped a woman in a mall restroom and robbed her of her backpack last month.
Investigator David Smysor said police have obtained surveillance video from the management at Lincoln Square Village in downtown Urbana where the robbery occurred just before 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 and are circulating it in the law enforcement community.
Smysor said the woman and a friend were playing around in the hallway near the rest rooms on the lower level when a young man walked past them and went in the men's restroom.
They went in the women's restroom and were about to come out when the robber emerged from the men's room and pushed them back inside the women's restroom.
He demanded the 21-year-old woman's backpack and when she balked at handing it over, he hit her in the face with a gun.
"She had cuts and bruising to her face and a knot on the back of her head," Smysor said.
After she handed over the string pack, he allowed them to leave and followed them.
"They left the mall through the north entrance. He watched them as they walked across the street and they turned and looked at him and he walked back through the mall and left out the west entrance," Smysor said.
Smysor said the video showed that the robber had come in the mall earlier with two men and that after the robbery, he met back up with them in the food court before leaving.
The women contacted a friend before calling police about 45 minutes after the attack.
The woman was treated for her injuries at Carle Hospital and later released.
Smysor said the woman described the robber as a skinny, light-skinned black man, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 135 pounds, with scruffy facial hair.
He had tattoos on the back of both hands. She described one as a spider or scorpion outlined in red. The other hand had black writing outlined in red.
Anyone with information is asked to call Urbana police at 217-384-2320 or Crimestoppers at 217-373-8477.
Tips can also be sent at http://www.373tips.com or by text by sending Tip397 plus the tip to CRIMES (274637).
The information you provide is confidential. You do not have to give your name or appear in court. Crimestoppers will pay a reward if the information you provide leads to an arrest for this crime. Cash rewards are also paid for information on other felony crimes or fugitives in the Champaign County area.