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Frankfort police eye increased patrols along Old Plank Road Trail in wake of groping incidents

In the wake of two recent assaults along Old Plank Road Trail in Frankfort, village officials assured residents Tuesday the village is eyeing increased police patrols in the area and that the village remains a safe place.

Dozens of people showed up to a standing-room only town hall meeting at Frankfort Village Hall for an update on local efforts in response to the groping incidents.

At the same time, authorities repeated their request for any information that could help them bring the case to a close.

In the latest incident, a man reportedly groped a woman about 9:45 a.m. Nov. 6, authorities said, as she was on the running path near Indian Boundary Park.

Police said they’re looking for a black man under 6 feet tall with an athletic build. He was wearing a red and grey tight shirt, black spandex pants and a stocking cap at the time of the most recent assault.

Another incident in which a man with a similar description grabbed the buttocks of another woman took place Oct. 23 near the same location, police said.

“We are currently investigating it actively,” said Frankfort police Officer Leanne Bender.

Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland acknowledged people have expressed concern about the recent trail incidents, but the village is a generally safe place, he said.

Police Chief John Burica stressed that law enforcement authorities in the area are working together to ensure public safety. He said the village is looking into increasing patrols along the trail, but could not indicate if the law enforcement for neighboring towns would boost theirs as well.

Several at the town hall meeting brought up ideas to further promote safety along Old Plank Trail. Those included additional mile markers and crisis phones.

Asked if the incidents should be viewed sexual assault crimes, Burica said the case is under investigation as battery.

Burica said that getting the community involved is important to law enforcement authorities.

“I want to be reliant on the people here because that’s the best technology we’re going to have,” he said.

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