A Cedar Rapids woman had a scary confrontation with four teenage boys last Friday and is warning others to stay alert.

The incident happened last Friday, October 26 between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. The woman, who's in her mid-40's and asked not to be named, parked at the Prairie Park Fishery off of Otis Road S.E. She tells me she consciously went left on the trail, where she would stay out in the open and be more visible. She also noted she'd been on the trail many times before, without a problem. Her plan was to walk to the northeast end of the trail, where a connector from the Sac and Fox trail joins the trail around the Prairie Park Fishery. She was then going to retrace her steps to her vehicle, knowing it would be getting close to dark by then.

Just as she reached her turnaround point, four young teenage boys, as she described them to me, came from the connector trail, also heading toward the parking lot. Three of the four were on bicycles. She says for the next 10 to 15 minutes, they followed and verbally abused her. The rhetoric escalated to the teens threatening to rape and sodomize her. At this point, she called police and the boys took off ahead of her. She then thought she was safe and the incident was over. It wasn't.

She soon saw one of the teens heading back "to get me." When the teen turned around to holler back to his friends, she scrambled down the embankment toward the lake and hid. She stayed there for several minutes as the teens hollered for her. She stayed quiet and eventually when she heard car doors, she went back up the hill. The doors were from responding officers from the Cedar Rapids Police Department. By this time, the teens were gone.

The woman also shared a story with me of a male friend of hers who, that same day, was driving when he saw a female jogger with a man trailing her on a bicycle. The driver noticed something was off when the man on the bicycle seemed to be peddling slow and that the jogger was looking back over her shoulder, nervously. The driver of the vehicle pulled over and hollered to the woman, pretending to know her. She understood what was happening and stopped and jogged back to him. She told him the bicyclist had been following her, and that he circled her and was harassing her as she jogged.

Two disturbing incidents in one day. The woman who had the scary encounter at the Prairie Park Fishery is making it her goal to make our trails safer. She's organized a walk of solidarity this Friday, November 2 at Prairie Park Fishery. If you'd like to take part, you should meet between 5 and 5:10 p.m.

Be alert, stay safe and please, if you see someone you think needs help, don't assume you're wrong. It's so much better to be safe than sorry later.

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