Arrest made in two blow dart attacks

Published 08/21 2013 05:17PM

Updated 08/30 2013 06:27PM

Latest: 4:39 pm, 8/30/13, Friday
CHAMPAIGN -- A teen accused of shooting blow-darts at people on the UI campus was in court Friday. 19-year old Todd Farthing was formally charged with two counts of aggravated battery.

Police say he shot two people in the arm with blow-darts. Both victims were treated at the hospital for minor injuries. They're OK.

Farthing is due back in court in October.
Latest: 10:02 pm, 8/29/13, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN -- UI students are relieved to hear a suspect accused of hitting people with blow darts is in police custody. Two people were hit by the darts on campus last Tuesday. It happened just days before 7,000 students moved onto campus.

Police believe 19-year old Todd Farthing was behind the attacks. Officials wanted to provide a safe environment so they spread the word. Soon enough a Crime Stoppers tip led to Farthing's arrest.

The victims were hit in their arms and had to pull the darts out. Both were treated at the hospital for minor injuries.

Students heard about the attacks before returning to school. They were shocked to think getting hit by a blow dart was something they'd even have to worry about. 

Farthing faces misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct.
Update: 3:40 pm, 8/29/13, Thursday
CHAMPAIGN -- Police arrested a teen in connection with two blow dart incidents. 19-year old Todd Farthing, of Champaign, was located at Parkland College and faces charges of misdemeanor reckless conduct after being interviewed by detectives.

Two people were wounded in blow dart attacks on Tuesday, August 20. The first attack happened about 8:25 pm, in the 400-block of East John Street. A 20-year old woman was crossing the street when she was struck in the left forearm.

The second attack happened about 10 pm, in the 300-block of South First Street. A 35-year old man was crossing the street when he was also struck by a blow dart in the left forearm. Both victims were treated at the hospital for their injuries.

Authorities say a tip to Crime Stoppers led to the arrest.
Original: 5:17 pm, 8/21/13, Tuesday
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- Two people walking around Campustown on Tuesday night were hit with blow darts. Police say they've never seen anything like it.

This comes after students were attacked by people on bikes this past weekend. And all just days before thousands of freshman move in on Thursday. Police aren't sure if it's someone driving by or shooting from an apartment window or anything else. But people who live in the area say it's scary to think about however it's happening.

"I've heard of people being jumped and beat up so I guess they're just trying something new," said Kyra Michon, who goes to the University of Illinois.

That something new is a blow dart. Two people became victims of it within hours of each other. Pictures on Reddit show marks where one person says her friend got hit.

"Felt like they had a bee sting in their arm and looked down and they got a dart sticking out of their arm," said Champaign Police Lt. Jim Clark.

The first time it happened was near Fourth and John Streets around 8:30 at night. A 20-year-old woman was crossing the street when she got hit.

"That's just a horrible thing to do," said University of Illinois student Yinghao Liu. "Why would people stab somebody like that for no reason?"

An hour and a half later, a 35-year-old man got hit too. He was walking near First Street and Springfield Avenue.

"It's about a six-inch dart that was sticking out of their arms," said Lt. Clark. "It's quite tragic and quite alarming that this kind of stuff is going on."

Both people went to the hospital and are doing okay now. But students say it's still a scary situation.

"It must be a nightmare for the victims," said University of Illinois student Junyang Chen. "I think it's a really horrible thing."

Others say they're glad it wasn't worse.

"It's going to be dangerous," said University of Illinois student Sitng Jin. "If it stabs your eye, it's going to hurt forever."

"My 26 years in law enforcement, this is the first I've seen anything like this occurring," said Lt. Clark.

Even though the people involved were okay, police say is just as easily could have gotten a lot more dangerous.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Champaign County Crime Stoppers
(217) 373 - TIPS
Text: CCTip + info to CRIMES (274637) 

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