Belleville Pokemon Go player says attacker threw ‘a handful of sawdust’ into her eyes

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(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – A Facebook post about an attack on a Belleville Pokemon Go player is going viral.

A woman said a man threw “a handful of sawdust” into her eyes and then tried to pull her out of the car. She is looking for help to find the men who tried to stop the vehicle.

The woman says she was travelling in a vehicle in downtown Belleville with her boyfriend and two other men. Police say they were all playing Pokemon Go when a group of men approached. This is a portion of the Facebook post:

“We were driving off of N. 8th street across from where the new police station will soon be located and next to Motomart when a group of men barricaded my car. They were all beating on my hood and numerous other spots around the car. One rolled over my hood as we were pushing through them and when he passed my window he threw a handful of sawdust directly into my eyes, 2-3 inches from my face. He began to reach into the car and grab me and pull me out when my boyfriend slammed on the gas and busted through their barricade. After we made it through he began chasing my car down the road with a baseball bat. We immediately called 911 and filed a report. I went to the hospital and the sawdust scratched the cornea of my eye. I was practically having an anxiety attack the whole time it happened. We’ve encountered this man three times in the Belleville area – accusing us of following him when we were circling around for Pomémon.”

A police report was filed early Sunday morning.  It says that 4-5 black males approached the car near the intersection of N. 8th St. and West C St. at 12:30 a.m. on July 17.  The victim was in the passenger seat.  She was approached by a man with a baseball bat and what she says is sawdust in another hand. The suspect threw the sawdust in her face.  The victim and witnesses fled the area to Motomart, where they called 911.  She was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The suspect is described as an African-American male, approximately six-feet tall, with short dreadlocks, a dark complexion, and wearing a dark shirt and dark pants.

Police did not name a victim in their report. But a message posted to Facebook at Facebook post at 3:26am on Sunday describes an incident that matches the police report.

Alexis Bowlin writes:

“FACEBOOK – PLEASEEE help me catch these terrible people. Below are their descriptions:

Five to six+ individuals, black males. Most were wearing no shoes.

One was 5’6-5’7″, short hair

The one who threw the sawdust at me I’ve seen a few times. The first around Franklin Elementary School. He approached my car and nearly stuck his head in my window and accused my boyfriend, my 15 year old sister, and I of following him. We rode away. The next time we just passed him driving along the road with the same Motomart we were attacked near. He had no shoes on there. He had twisties, maybe short dreadlocks, about 6’3-6’4ft tall, wearing no shoes every time we’ve seen him. T-shirt, cargo shorts.

The rest of the men were wearing dark t-shirts and cargo shorts as well. Some with no shoes. Dark clothing. I couldn’t tell you much more detail since I had sawdust thrown in my eyes.

The police have photos of my car, face and body where the sawdust was thrown. I have listed a photo of the location where the attack happened.

If you have ANY information on these people please please please message me or call the local police department at 618-234-1212

THANK YOU.”

Investigators say they searched the area for a suspect.  They did not find anyone who matched the description.  This case is being investigated as a battery, and has been assigned to a detective. There have not been more reports of attacks on Pokemon Go players in Belleville.

The Belleville Police Department recommends the following while playing Pokemon Go in the city:

  • Playing late at night or in the wee hours of the morning could put you at increased risk. If you must play at this time, stay in well lit areas.
  • Do not trespass on private property unless prior permission from the owner of the property was gained.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Do not become so engrossed in the game that you lose track of what is going on around you.
  • Do not venture into areas that are unfamiliar, especially at night.