Durham teen arrested in two American Tobacco Trail assaults
Posted June 24, 2014
Durham, N.C. — Police have arrested a teenager in connection with two assaults earlier this month on the American Tobacco Trail in Durham.
Justin Sturn, 17, was jailed under a $75,000 bond Tuesday afternoon on charges of simple assault, common law robbery and felony conspiracy in the June 5 and 6 cases in which trail-goers reported being assaulted by a teenager who was among a group of teens.
Investigators say that in the June 5 case, a man said he was riding a bike around 12:30 p.m. between Otis and Fayetteville streets when a teenager punched him and knocked him off the bike.
The teen didn’t say anything and didn’t take anything.
Around the same time the next day, however, a teenager stole a cellphone and iPod from a man walking northeast on the trail behind Hillside High School,
In that case, the teen approached the man, as well as a woman, and asked to use the man’s cellphone. When the man refused the request, police said, the teen punched the man in the face.
A third assault on a bicyclist in the same vicinity June 9 also involved several teenagers.
Durham police Lt. Brian Reitz said investigators haven’t yet identified a suspect in the third case and that all three incidents remain under investigation.
It wasn’t clear if police were looking for any other suspects in the cases or if further charges were possible.
Sturn, according to Durham Public Schools, was enrolled at Hillside High School during the last year.
Since the assaults, Durham police have increased patrols along the trail and are trying anyone on them to follow basic safety and crime prevention tips:
- Call 911 to report suspicious activity.
- Stay aware of surroundings at all times.
- Walk in well-lit areas that are not isolated.
- If being followed, get away fast, change directions and head toward a safe location.
- Carry a personal alarm to deter potential attackers.