Woman Assaulted at Riverfront

Woman Assaulted at Riverfront
By: Holly Brantley & Heartland News

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - Police are looking for a man who assaulted a woman in downtown Cape Girardeau.  Witnesses say it happened around 8:30 Thursday evening.

Police say two men approached the young woman.  One of the men punched her in the face and took her purse. 

"I was down at the river last night, talked on the phone to a friend by myself and a guy came up to me, started talking to me, distracted me and then punched me in the face and stole my purse," said the victim who didn't want to be identified.

According to witnesses the two individuals ran off through the flood gates.

Police say the incident is isolated, and Cape Girardeau's downtown is still a safe place to be.  

Meanwhile, even before this incident there was talk about adding more eyes to the downtown area to protect the merchants, citizens and tourists who flock to the riverfront.  Those eyes could come in the form of security cameras or extra patrols.

"The incident disturbs me," said Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson. "These thugs are on notice. We are going to stop them. They are not going to tear down what we've built."

Knudtson says people should feel welcome in downtown Cape Girardeau, not intimidated or fearful.

"While this is an isolated incident, we will put a stop to it.  Will cameras do that? We're still deliberating.  But an increased police presence will help," Knudtson said. 

"There's a lot of debate about the cameras," said Captain Roger Fields.  "Some feel it's just big brother watching, but it's something our police department could utilize. Our downtown area is safe.  People should come down here and enjoy themselves."

As for the victim, she says she's moving forward.

"I'm scared. I don't want to be by myself right now. I have a headache that won't go away, but other than that I'm making it through," she said.

The mayor says they have increased patrols, but dedicating police officers to the downtown area in a formal fashion will be the next step.

If you have any information about Thursday night's assault, call local police.