CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — University of Illinois Police are investigating after they said a Circle K employee was stabbed during a shoplifting incident Thursday morning.
Police said that the theft-turned-stabbing happened at the campustown gas station at First and Green Streets. The victim called police just before 4 a.m. to report he tried to stop a man from stealing alcohol from the store. During a struggle, the employee was stabbed twice with an unknown sharp object.
The incident prompted a campus wide Illini-Alert to all campus community members. The offender ran away from the gas station and police were unable to find him during a search of the area.
U of I student Noa Saxton said she often uses the Circle K when going home. She said hearing the news makes her think twice about where to pump gas.
“I got the alert this morning when I woke up to go to class,” Saxton said. “I didn’t really think anything of it, and I read it while I was in class, which was crazy to see. I will definitely only get it during the day. I probably wouldn’t get gas anywhere at night just to be sure.”
Director of Public Safety Pat Wade said situations like these can be scary and trauma-inducing. He said choosing not to engage is key to de-escalate situations.
“Property can be replaced, your life, your safety can’t,” Wade said. “So, if it’s me personally, I would air on the side of giving up your property and making it home that night.”
The employee was taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance. His injuries are described as being superficial and he is expected to be okay.
Anyone with further information on this crime is urged to call the University of Illinois Police Department at 217-333-1216. People may also submit a tip anonymously by calling Champaign County Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477.