Employee attacked near ATM inside Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

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CLEVELAND - Most people know the risk of withdrawing money from an ATM at night or in a secluded area. But one woman says she was attacked inside Hopkins airport after she went to the ATM.

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is not the first place most people think of for a violent robbery to occur.

"I am surprised 'cause actually airports and traveling by yourself sometimes, I think that's the safest place to be 'cause there's so many people and security all around," said one passenger we spoke to.

Cleveland police say Thursday morning, a United Airlines employee was on the baggage claim level at Hopkins. She withdrew money from an ATM near the airport's welcome center.

Police say a man waited for her and followed her onto an elevator. Once inside, the man punched her in the back of her head, she was able to re-open the door, get out and scream.

Investigators say a traffic controller first saw what happened and ran after the suspect, then a Cleveland police officer joined in the chase and was able to arrest the 54-year old man.

Hopkins sent us a statement saying they have about 800 uniformed and non-uniformed officers stationed here from federal, state and local agencies. They say the group meets regularly to discuss any security issues that might come up.

"I'm not surprised at all," said another passenger.

But most passengers say they find it hard to believe, someone would commit this type of crime at an airport. Many say they rarely think about it.

"Every once in awhile, when I went to South Africa I did, but not here," said one man.

"I kind of keep my stuff close to me, just in case, but I wouldn't think somewhere around here, it's so public, so many people around," said a passenger.

The employee that was assaulted is fine. Fox 8 is not naming the 54-year old suspect because he has not been charged.

After a check of his criminal record, he has a lengthy history, dating back to 1984 for many crimes, including aggravated assault and felonious assault.

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