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Man punched at Newton library over laptop

A 25-year-old man was punched in the face and head at the Newton Free Library Wednesday morning by a man who was trying to steal his laptop, police said.

The alleged assault is the second in the past two months involving a laptop at the library.

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Library director Philip McNulty said the incidents have prompted the library to consider putting in surveillance cameras to aid police in identifying suspects.

“We are investigating the possibility of updating our security systems,” McNulty said.

The alleged assault happened around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, when the victim left a study room on the second floor to use the restroom.

When he returned he noticed a man was leaving the room and his computer missing, authorities said.

The victim chased after the suspect and held onto his jacket while he demanded his laptop back, police said.

He was punched several times in the face and head, according to a police report.

“The suspect eventually let go of the laptop and fled the area on foot,” according to the police report.

The laptop was damaged in the struggle.

The suspect is described as a black male, about 5 feet 7 inches, between 20 and 30 years old, with a large build, short brown hair, clean shaven, wearing a dark jacket with some green on the shoulders, a dark cap, blue jeans, and a black backpack.

Police are investigating the alleged assault.

A similar incident occurred on Jan. 10 at the library when a 65-year-old male was pushed from behind by an unknown suspect who took his bag containing his laptop.

Police later found the victim’s empty bag in Central Square in Cambridge.

That suspect was described as a black male, 6 feet tall, between 20 and 30 years old, wearing a dark gray, thigh-length winter coat with a fur collar, and red baseball cap.

No arrests have been made in the theft.

Laura Gomez can be reached at laura.gomez@globe.com.
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