• BEST IN STATE—Senior Courtney Schoen Lewis was named Best PR Student in Utah. Story

USU business student loses backpack in Peru mugging

July 5th, 2010 Posted in Opinion

By Satenik Sargsyan

TRUJILLO, Peru—A USU business student on a summer study tour of South America was mugged in a Peruvian neighborhood while conducting research on micro-businesses.

International business and economics junior Scot Mardsen was gathering data about Internet cafe businesses in a modest Peruvian neighborhood when he felt his “backpack was torn from my back,” Mardsen said.

Marsden is part of a team of students from the USU Huntsman School of Business that has been touring businesses across South America this summer.

“At first, I thought it was one of my group members playing with me,” Mardsen said. “It felt like someone was jokingly shaking me. It took me a few seconds to realize that they wouldn’t let go.”

Mardsen and fellow Aggie Stefanie Nielson had left the student group to interview the nearby Internet cafe employees when they were attacked. Mardsen said two young men dressed in “black clothes, with long punk hair” tried to grab his backpack. One of them was holding something above his head, Mardsen said.

“I didn’t see a razor blade or a gun. I don’t even know if they had a weapon. But they were definitely trying to make it look like they did,” Mardsen said.

Mardsen said he let the backpack go. Even though his assailants weren’t violent, Mardsen said he “took the safe route.”

“I looked like a typical American tourist,” Mardsen said. “I was wearing my colorful swimsuit shorts, a white shirt, wearing a backpack and had a hat and sunglasses on. No wonder I drew attention.”

Nielson said her first instinct was to run.

“I am 5 feet tall,” she said. “I realized I couldn’t do anything to help and I was worried about myself, too.

“The funny thing is that when we were walking in that neighborhood the night before, people warned us to be careful,” Nielson said, “But we felt safe during the day.”

Mardsen said the most valuable thing he had lost was his cellphone.

“I had a towel and books in my backpack,” he said. “I bet they will be upset when they open it. Maybe the religious books will be a beginning of something new in their life.”

The assault was reported to the Peruvian police.

“I’ve never fist-fought with anyone in my life,” Mardsen said. “I’ve been playing the scene over and over in my head. That was my chance to beat the crap out of someone for the first time and I somewhat regret not taking advantage of seeing how it felt.”


Tags: , ,

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.