NORTHRIDGE — A gunman assaulted a pair of Japanese students Wednesday night, robbing a man of $30 and sexually assaulting his female companion after ordering her into his car, police said.
The 20-year-old man and 18-year-old woman, who are in the United States learning English, were walking in the 18200 block of Plummer Street at 9:40 p.m., when a man approached them and threatened them with a handgun, said Officer La Donna Cissell, an LAPD spokeswoman.
The gunman directed the two students to a nearby parking lot, where he robbed the man and told him to lie down on the pavement, Cissell said.
The attacker then ordered the woman to get into his car parked in the same lot, covered her face and drove off, Cissell said. The male victim ran after the vehicle, lost sight of it and then called police from a pay phone.
The assailant drove the woman for about 20 minutes to an unknown location, took her inside a building and sexually assaulted her, Cissell said.
After the assault, Cissell said the man ordered the woman back in the car with her eyes still covered and told her to lie down in the back seat. He drove to the 11300 block of Riverside Drive in North Hollywood and dropped her off.
The two students are attending English First, a private, four-week language school held at Cal State Northridge. The language school is not affiliated with the university, school officials said. "Any time a crime occurs, particularly close to the university, we are concerned," said Carmen Ramos Chandler, a CSUN spokeswoman. "We regret any time anyone is hurt."
CSUN Police Chief Ron Seacrist said all university students--as well as those enrolled in guest programs--attend a public safety orientation.
"We tell them what to do to protect themselves on and off campus, such as walking in groups, how to contact campus police and local police, and about the escort service we provide," Seacrist said.
"The sad thing is that they were doing all the right things," he said. "It was a crime of opportunity that could have happened to anyone."
Seacrist said there have been no other reports of attacks on foreign students in recent years.
The suspect is described as a light-complexioned black man, between 5 feet 9 and 6 feet tall, weighing 200-220 pounds and about 30 years old, LAPD spokesman Don Cox said.