Durham, N.C. — 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.
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.