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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Suspect identified in abduction attempts at UAlbany bus stop

Suspect identified in abduction attempts at UAlbany bus stop

A 54-year-old Albany man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the attempted abductions of two col

A 54-year-old Albany man was arrested Tuesday in connection with the attempted abductions of two college-age women Friday morning, police said.

The man was charged with misdemeanor counts Tuesday, but further charges could be filed once police speak with the victims.

The man arrested was identified as Anthony D. Collins. He faces misdemeanor weapons and menacing counts, police said.

Police said both incidents took place at a bus stop near Waterbury Hall, which is in the Alumni Quad on the University at Albany’s downtown campus off of Western Avenue.

The first attempted abduction reportedly occurred at 7:55 a.m. when a man wearing running pants and a sweater with a snowflake design on it attempted to abduct a young woman at knife point. According to police, a UAlbany student intervened and distracted Collins, and the woman was able to get on the bus and away from the area.

Police said the suspect reappeared at the bus stop at about 8:30 a.m. and attempted a second abduction. No knife was displayed during the second incident, and the woman was able to get away, police said.

In that case, police said, the woman spotted Collins as he approached. She reacted by facing him and backing away.

Aran Mull, an inspector for the New York State University Police, said Collins was arrested and the knife believed to have been used has been seized.

The victims have yet to be identified, and it is not known if they are UAlbany students.

The report came in via email from a third party, Mull said. Neither of the women reported the incidents themselves.

That email was also originally sent Friday to two addresses, one a bad address for the university police, Mull said. When the other recipient realized the police address didn’t work, that person alerted police directly on Monday.

From there, police contacted the Albany Crime Analysis Center, which helps law enforcement. They found surveillance video of that area, which captured both incidents on video.

The video also provided an image of Collins in the unique sweater. That image helped in identifying him, with members of the public offering information, Mull said.

“The video was really seminal in us being able to move the case forward,” Mull said.

In general, Mull advised people to be aware of their surroundings and, if they see something suspicious, to report it.

In the cases Friday, he said, the video showed how being aware can help prevent incidents from escalating.

Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the university police at 442-3131.

The university has had two high-profile disappearance cases in the past 28 years.

UAlbany student Suzanne Lyall, 19, of Milton, went missing March 2, 1998, somewhere between the software store where she worked and her dorm room. Police suspect homicide.

Student Karen Wilson, 22, of Albany, has been missing since March 1985. She was last seen leaving the Tanning Hut at 1670 Central Ave. in Colonie.

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