Police Seek Info on Flasher
September 16, 2004 8:59 PM
Police said this week that a man suspected of exposing himself to more than 25 women in the past year, including several SF State students last fall, has struck again and investigators want women to keep an eye out for anyone fitting the suspect’s description.
“This is a guy who’s been the most prolific of anything I’ve seen,” Kidd said. “It’s pretty extreme.”
Kidd said a report of a man masturbating in the library last fall is probably an isolated incident.
Victims identified a white man in his mid-20s to mid-30s, weighing between 160 to 200 pounds with a medium build. He wears a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, and mirrored or dark sunglasses.
Police believe the man harassed 25 to 30 mostly Asian females between the ages of 12 and 30. A DNA sample taken from the scene of one incident near SF State linked the man to a similar incident in Milpitas last spring.
Kidd said the man is usually with a car descibed as green Toyota Camry or similar vehicle, and pretends to be doing something in the car. He waits until the woman passes and then approaches her. A few times he has held the woman’s arm or shoulders to make her stay while he masturbates, although these women have all been able to break away. The suspect’s operation scares them off before they get a good look at him or his car.
“He’s doing it in a way that’s pretty careful in which the victim’s basically chased off or fled,” Kidd said. “Even though they saw him in the vehicle, they've fled away from the area and they didn't see the vehicle (clearly).”
Victims can take notice of things that are more descriptive than a car if they encounter a flasher, according to Nina Jo Smith, the coordinator of the Sexual Abuse Free Environment Place resource center at SF State. A person’s shoes, smell or even how they walk can give police specific details about a suspect.
Attackers want a reaction, either shock or fear, so Smith said that if faced with sexual assault, try to stay calm. If there are other people around, attract attention by yelling and running.
Biology major Trinh Huynh, 19, said she was walking home to The Villas Parkmerced last year after 9 p.m. when a man tried to get her to come over and talk to him.
“I didn’t even bother to look back,” Huynh said. “And it was pretty late and there weren’t any people around.”
Sarah Griggi, a 22-year-old math student in the credential program, said she usually feels safe on campus.
“As of right now with the daylight, I feel very safe,” Griggi said. “But I’ll tell you right now my fiancée made me get a cell phone for the first time.”
SF State Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jennifer Schwartz said students should travel in pairs, especially at night, to protect themselves. Students can also use the “blue light” telephones to dial 87200 for the Campus Alliance for a Risk-Free Environment escort service if they feel unsafe walking alone on campus.
“We often say, if the situation doesn’t feel right to you, then it probably isn’t right, and get to an area of safety, like inside a building where you can call for help,” said Schwartz, in an e-mail statement.
Smith said students should have a plan in case someone tries to harass, assault or make them feel uncomfortable. But if something does happen, to tell someone or call the police immediately. University police can notify Smith in the event of a rape or sexual assault.
“It’s very intimidating, which is what it’s meant to be- to frighten, to shock,” Smith said. “They may feel scared, or why me, or there’s all this self-blame like, why was I there or why was I by myself.”
Kidd said most flashers are caught quickly - after only three to four incidents - but this suspect is unusual in that he has been in a variety of locations and gotten away with a number of attacks.
“What we are hoping women will do is be aware of a guy who fits that description,” Kidd said. “They need to be wary, especially if they see him around an automobile and get the license of the automobile.”
“That’s how this guy is going to get caught,” he said. “Someone’s going to spot him or they’re going to see him before he sees them.”
For more info on S.A.F.E. Place
For more info on C.A.R.E. Program
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