Hickory police hope surveillance video will help find the man who smashed a paving stone over a woman's head and then stole her computer.
Shawna Rackley had walked to the Ridgeview Library to use the Wi-Fi there to Skype a friend in England. The attack happened feet from the front door.
She has been hospitalized since Saturday evening with a skull fracture and eight staples in her head after someone hit her with a concrete landscaping cinder block.
“She was sitting cross-legged on the ground,” said her mother, Carol Rackley. “Why didn't he just reach over and jerk the laptop away and run, instead of hitting her in the head? That's my biggest issue. He didn't have to hurt her.”
Rackley said her daughter walked a few blocks from their apartment to use the library's Wi-Fi after it had closed Saturday evening.
Ebony Brown lives nearby and said it’s easy for a person not to be aware of their surroundings when using a laptop or cellphone.
“I could see how that could happen but I'm still shocked that someone did that,” Brown said. “Things happen everywhere and you got to be aware of those things.”
Police told Channel 9 they are reviewing surveillance video from the library's parking lot. Right now, they have only a vague description of the attacker being a black male in his early 20s who possibly talks with a stutter.
Rackley hopes whoever is responsible is caught.
“Get some help before you kill somebody and totally ruin someone else's life and yours forever,” she said.
The family did take down the laptop’s serial number, and police are already canvassing local pawnshops looking for it.
Family members said Rackley’s injuries are so serious it may be several days before she gets out of the hospital.