Elderly Marine Corps veteran robbed, assaulted on Cultural Trail in downtown Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A Marine Corps veteran was robbed and assaulted along the Cultural Trail in downtown Indianapolis, police say.

The crime marks the second time in the last week thieves attacked someone in a wheelchair just a few blocks apart. On bike or on foot, every year more than a million people use the eight-mile Cultural Trail. Most say they feel safer on the trail than anywhere else in downtown.

“It’s a safe place to me,” said trail user Iris Young. “I feel safe, completely safe.”

Unfortunately, this week the 79-year-old victim reported being robbed on the trail near Walnut and Capitol. He escaped major injury.

“One guy grabbed him around the neck and was choking him and another stood in front of him,” said William Clark.

The victim lives just around the corner from the Cultural Trail. Fellow veteran and friend William Clark says the suspects stole hundreds of dollars and pushed the man to the ground.

“It just brings tears to your eyes. It’s terrible,” said Clark.

“I think it’s disappointing anytime something negative happens anywhere in our city,” said Cultural Trail executive director Karen Haley.

Trail leaders say safety is a top priority. In fact, nearly 600 lights have been installed along the trail to make it safer.

“If you are choosing which way to go, most likely you’ll choose the well-lit path as opposed to a street that might not have lights. So that’s one of the great things the Cultural Trail has done for downtown,” said Haley.

In a separate incident, a 55-year-old double amputee reported being robbed and assaulted in front of the public library by three men who pushed him out of his wheelchair this week.

Those who know the 79-year-old victim are appalled that suspects twice targeted the disabled and plan to be more careful in the future.

“It’s sad but you gotta watch where you go and have somebody with you,” said Clark.

Police can’t say for sure if the two cases are connected, but anyone with information on either of the two crimes is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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