Local News

Man attacked on American Tobacco Trail in Durham

Posted October 1, 2012
Updated October 2, 2012

— Durham police are investigating an attempted robbery and assault on the American Tobacco Trail Monday afternoon, the 13th reported crime on the trail this year.

A man told police he was walking on the trail near Fayetteville Road and Woodcroft Parkway when a man attacked him, demanded money and punched him several times before fleeing empty-handed.

The victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries. 

Tavare Shaw talked with the victim after the attack.

"He was going to work that way, and he said somebody attacked him," Shaw said. "He had a couple of bruises. He was fine, and said he didn't actually get robbed – he got beat up a little bit." 

Anyone with information about the assault is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.

Police have not said whether Monday's attack is related to 12 other crimes reported on the 7½-mile stretch of trail this year – seven assaults, four robberies and one case of indecent exposure .

In 2011, five robberies, two assaults and six cases of indecent exposure were reported on the trail.

In response to the crimes, the Durham Police Department recently increased patrols in the area – both undercover and uniformed officers on foot and on bicycles. The department also plans to buy all-terrain vehicles to help with patrols, and is considering installing surveillance cameras along the trail.

Runner Toya Cohn said she is taking precautions on the trail.

"I just try to get out here before it gets dark," she said. American Tobacco Trail Man reports daytime assault on Durham's American Tobacco Trail

In response to the latest attack, which happened in broad daylight, Cohn said she might stay off the trail in the future.

"This might be my last time," she said. "For somebody to be as bold as they are to attack someone in the day time, that's pretty vicious."

"If you can't come out here to go relieve some stress and do some exercise, something is wrong," she added.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • razorback Oct 3, 2012

    A description of the culprit would sure be nice!!It may kind of give someone an idea would to look out for while on the trail.

  • CarolinaCakeMob Oct 3, 2012

    I'm sick of this. I'm tired of crime in my beloved city, and I'm going to do something about it. Durham needs a real life superhero...and that is exactly what it's going to get...

  • changeyourownlife Oct 3, 2012


    you do realize that, since the fundraiser would most likely be planned by adults and not girlscouts, there are much more lucrative options for raising money than "selling cookies or food or washing cars" right?


    yes...thats exactly the same thing....oh wait, no--no it's not.....along w/ about a billion other differences, the main difference is i'm not saying to keep any certain people out--just to make sure we know they're not armed and they are documented as being there---as far as the cost of building a fence, i think it'd balance out since we won't be paying all these cops to patrol the trail all day--

    to both of you: if you don't like my ideas, thats fine but, how about trying to come up w/ alternative suggestions or are you just one to argue?

  • Red Green Oct 2, 2012

    "Gun control is hitting what you aim at! Semper Fi! Sig Sauer 9mm P226" - 357Remmax

    Why is there always one person who feels the need to step forward and make ALL gun owners look like salivating wack jobs?

  • iwall2 Oct 2, 2012

    Be sure to have a 9mm and or a large can of mace in hand before using the America Tobacco Trail.It will only get worse now that these career criminals from Durham know where to go for a quick robbery.When they are not robbing,car jacking and killing people in Chapel Hill they will be on the American Tobacco Trail.

  • robjustrob Oct 2, 2012

    "a CONSTRUCTIVE idea would be to set it up where the only way to get into the trail is past a guard and a surveillance camera"

    Yeah, sort of like how the only way into the US is through official border crossings. Who's going to pay to build the fence all along the trail? Doesn't matter - they'll climb THAT one too! Sheesh!

  • GETOUT Oct 2, 2012

    Changeyouownlife...... A fundraiser!?!?!?! Seriously! You make me laugh. None of you guys would ever support anything the City of Durham or the Durham PD would try to do to raise money!!! You all would get on here and bash them for trying to do that.... I would love to see the city or the pd set up on a corner selling cookies or food or washing cars, etc. They would be bashed beyond belief!

  • robjustrob Oct 2, 2012

    Yeah, keep spending more money! Money, money, money! Pay more cops, buy 4-wheelers (heck, they'll kill the cop and steal the bike), make pretty signs so the perps will know every one has their cell in their hand ready to give it up, too. Oh and the blue light thing... yeah, make that trail look like an aisle in Best Buy. Or - just let us all carry concealed and take out the garbage ourselves. You know we're going to anyway...

  • LocalYokel Oct 2, 2012

    my first comment about safety did not get through the WRAL moderation wall?! I'll attempt a test comment.

    moderator test below:




  • changeyourownlife Oct 2, 2012


    for one, ever heard of a 'fundraiser'? that would take care of the cost of changing the entrances to the trail, the cameras, and the metal detectors...

    and if they did my guard idea, they would only need a few guards (TRAINED professionals (not necessarily cops), rather than a bunch of armed amateurs)and could get rid of all the undercovers and bike patrols.

    how about thinking of a solution that ensures safety, while keeping the trail accessible for everyone, rather than just pessimistically disputing every idea you come across