Urbana teen arrested over attack on UI student

URBANA — University of Illinois police have arrested an Urbana teen in connection with an attack on a UI student earlier this month.

Kenichi J. Townsend, 18, of the 1300 block of Beech Street, Urbana, was arrested Wednesday on a warrant issued earlier in the day charging him with attempted robbery and aggravated battery.

Townsend was identified as being one of four men who approached a 28-year-old Champaign man in the 100 block of South Wright Street in Urbana about 2:45 a.m. on Aug. 17.

Lt. Matt Myrick said the man was walking on the east side of Wright when he passed the group. Within seconds, he was hit from behind and taken to the ground. He was hit at least five times on the head and upper body, Myrick said, as the attackers tried to take items from his pockets.

Myrick said the man was able to get to his feet and the group took off running.

Police obtained video of the attack and officers recognized two of the men. Judge Richard Klaus set bond on the warrants for their arrests at $50,000.

Police are still looking for the others.

The attack on the Champaign man is in addition to another six that have happened in the past six days on the Champaign side of campus and in the 700 block of West Church Street, Champaign. Three of those six robberies have involved guns.

UI and Champaign police are keeping a close eye on the campus area.

"We are devoting extra resources and manpower specifically to stop and identify the people involved in these things. That takes the shape of extra people in uniform and plain clothes," Myrick said.

Police urge folks to try to walk in well-lit areas, not to walk alone and to avoid distractions from cellphones or other electronic devices while walking.

Two of the victims in the recent robberies told police they were talking on a cellphone or using headphones when they were approached, police said.

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