BOARDMAN Cops exhort witnesses to crimes to act quickly

An attack on a woman at a mall could have been solved had police been called promptly, an investigator said.
BOARDMAN -- A woman was knocked unconscious and her purse taken in the vicinity of about 15 people, but only one man stopped and called authorities, township police say.
The 47-year-old Campbell woman was leaving Southern Park Mall just before 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28 when someone struck her on the back of the head and ran off with her purse containing about $70. The woman fell unconscious. She was 67 feet from the mall in a section of the parking lot with heavy car traffic, police said.
The woman was treated at Northside Medical Center for a bump on the head.
Speed helps
A letter from the township's Crime Information Network says investigating officers found that 15 people were in the area of the attack. Lt. Jerry Hawkins said one woman who heard the attacker hit the woman saw someone drive around the unconscious woman and keep going. The woman also told police she saw two white females running away after the attack.
Hawkins said a driver did stop and call police. It is unclear how much time passed between the attack and the call to police, but Hawkins estimates it was five minutes or less. He wishes police would have been notified faster.
"I'm not going to say that we would have caught this person with a quicker call, but it certainly would have given us a better chance," he said. "At that time of the year, in that parking lot, it is very hard to get out of there without our guys seeing something."
Witnesses' fears
Hawkins said it is not uncommon for people to not want to get involved in these situations. He said several of those there may not have realized exactly what was going on, and others may have feared retribution or being made to appear in court.
"What you hear most often from people is 'am I going to have to go to go to court?' or 'will this person who committed the crime know my address?,'" he said.
Those who witness a crime should try to see the victim as a family member and do what they would want someone else to do for them, said Hawkins.
"You just have to remember that we are all in this together," he said.
Police are investigating the robbery and have some leads. Police are also investigating another report earlier in December where a woman was struck in the head and her purse stolen. Authorities say the two crimes are not related.

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