By Katie Zeck
The second incident in the past eight months involving a suspect attempting to lure a female Rider student into his car was reported by university officials Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the suspect in a similar case that occurred last spring has been deemed mentally fit to stand trial for attempted kidnapping.
Last week, Tony Kadyhrob, the man accused of allegedly attempting to kidnap a Rider student in March, was declared able to stand trial by Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier.
A campus alert Thursday reported that an unidentified Asian male attempted to verbally lure a student into his car as she was walking across R lot. The student was unharmed.
The suspect, believed to be between 20 and 30 years old, was seen wearing a dark, solid-colored, collared jacket and driving a blue, sport-type vehicle.
According to Head of Public Safety Vickie Weaver, campus security is working closely with the Lawrence Township Police Department on this “ongoing and active investigation.”
“We appreciate the student that came forth,” Weaver said. “We also ask that anyone that has any additional information on the suspicious individual and or the vehicle he was driving to report it to Public Safety.”
Students raised concerns about the recent frequency of suspicious activity on campus.
“Every other week it seems like we get a text or phone call because apparently everyone is trying to kidnap or sexually assault students on campus,” said junior Zach Davis in a comment on a Rider Facebook page.
Senior Howard Spaeth also commented saying Public Safety could be on patrol more in certain areas of campus.
“Maybe our security should step it up a little, especially over by Conover where anyone can walk onto campus,” Spaeth said.
Kadyhrob remains in custody at the Hopewell Mercer Correction Center, where he has been held since Aug. 25 on bail of $100,000.
Kadyhrob’s actions at Rider resulted in his arrest by Lawrence Township police on March 29 after he allegedly grabbed and coerced a 19-year-old female Rider student into his car as she was walking toward Z lot. Kadyhrob was also seen on the campuses of The College of New Jersey and Princeton University, attracting the attention of national media because of his resemblance to actor Christopher Walken.
Kadyhrob, 68, has been described by his sister, who resides with him on the 2000 block of Princeton Ave. in Lawrence Township, as a paranoid schizophrenic. According to his sister, the cause of his actions was not because he was a “bad person” but because he stopped taking his medication for his mental disorder.
Since the March incident, Kadyhrob has been in and out of multiple courtrooms and will be returning to one at his next status conference at the Mercer County Superior Court on Dec. 1.
Kadyhrob testified in front of a grand jury on July 7. It indicted him on charges of attempted kidnapping and luring.
Kadyhrob reappeared in court on Aug. 25, after which he was admitted to the correction center.
“I definitely felt like there was something wrong with him and that he wasn’t mentally stable,” said sophomore Lark Stagnitto. “I’m glad that at least he’ll be staying off campus if he’s in the correctional center.”
“Kadyhrob’s psychological issues will definitely come into play later in the trials,” DeBlasio said. “The current decision that declared him ‘mentally fit’ just means that the judge feels he is competent enough to stand for trial and carry out the court system process.”
In addition to declaring Kadyhrob mentally fit to continue with future court processes, Billmeier asked Devenny if she had put together a plea deal. She responded that she had, Deblasio said. The plea offer presented Kadyhrob as guilty of attempted kidnapping and a sentence of 10 years in prison with 85 percent of the sentence served before parole will be offered. The defense attorney has yet to counter offer.
Kadyhrob’s next court date is set for Dec. 1 at the Mercer County Superior Court at 9 a.m.