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Student reports assault, car theft

A student reported he was carjacked and assaulted April 20 in the Brightleaf Square parking lot. He said the assailant led the Durham Police Department on a chase to Chapel Hill before being apprehended.

Senior Aaron Rosenberg said he was walking away from his parked 1990 Acura Legend with his girlfriend at about 8 p.m. when a black male in his late 20s, approximately 6 feet tall, approached him and demanded his car keys. After Rosenberg refused, he said the perpetrator hit him several times with his hands, then kicked him and punched him when he fell down.

Eventually Rosenberg handed over the keys to the attacker, who drove off in the car. After he dialed 911 and notified nearby DPD officers on Ninth Street, more than one police car followed the carjacker for several miles on 15-501. Police placed a spike strip across the road in Chapel Hill that blew out three of car's tires, but the attacker continued driving on the vehicle's rims for roughly one mile. Eventually the attacker exited the automobile and ran on foot before being detained a half-mile later, Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg said the perpetrator had a previous police record and has been charged with assault, grand theft auto and resisting arrest. DPD could not be reached for comment over the weekend.

"It was weird to be beaten and carjacked at 8 o'clock at night in Brightleaf Square," said Rosenberg, who was on his way to eat at Torero's restaurant when the attack occurred. "One of the strangest parts of the whole thing was there were a bunch of people standing around at that time and no one was truly helping."

Rosenberg said the incident will not scare him away from the area.

"If you're reasonably prepared, and a little bit aware of your surroundings, you generally are all right," he said, noting that he ate at Torero's the following night. "Durham is generally a pretty safe place."

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