Police responded Thursday, Dec. 17, to the sixth recent report of indecent exposure, the latest in a series of flasher and voyeurism cases north of Western Washington University campus.
Two young women called police around 11:15 p.m. when they saw a man outside their window on the east side of the 1000 block of North Garden Street. His jeans were partly down and he held a cell phone flashlight to his exposed genitals “to make sure they could be seen,” said Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.
Officers set up a perimeter and called in a police dog, but could not track the suspect.
It’s the sixth report since late October of indecent exposure in the blocks surrounding Laurel Park, a neighborhood with a large college student population.
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According to Bellingham police reports:
▪ Around 8:55 p.m. Oct. 24, a woman reported she had been inside her home in the 600 block of East Maple Street when she saw a flash, as if from a camera, through a small opening in the window blinds. By the time she looked outside, no one was there, but there was condensation on the window, as if someone had been breathing on it, she told police. Another woman in the house reported that two days earlier, around 1 a.m., she heard a voice, looked outside to investigate, and saw a man masturbating. She could not give a full description of the suspect.
▪ A couple of weeks later, on Nov. 5, a woman was talking on her cell phone north of campus around 6:40 p.m. in the 900 block of North Garden when out of the corner of her eye she saw a man masturbating. She described him as a white man in his 20s, with dark hair and a white hooded sweatshirt. Police could not find him.
▪ On the night of Nov. 30, a woman heard a knock on her window, looked outside and saw a man holding a tablet — perhaps an iPad — showing a picture of a penis. She called police around 11:45 p.m. from her home in the 900 block of North Garden. The man was described as college-age, with shaggy brown hair.
▪ Another young woman in the same block, 900 block of North Garden, reported that she had seen a man in his 20s masturbating “right outside of her window” around 8:20 p.m. Dec. 5, according to police. She met eyes with him before he walked away. The man appeared to be around 18 to 25 years old, with brownish blond hair. As police canvassed the area and warned neighbors to keep a lookout, a woman in another house said she had seen a man masturbating outside that night, too.
Most witnesses struggled to describe the suspect’s height, weight and skin color. Police haven’t confirmed which cases, if any, are connected.
There’s another case — an outlier that may or may not be linked, Vander Yacht said — in which a “brazen” man broke into an occupied house in the 600 block of East Myrtle in the early morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 14, at the corner of 900 North Garden. One of the tenants, 21, awoke around 1 a.m. to find the man standing in her room, with his face covered in a blue-and-green scarf. He appeared to be about 6 feet tall, she told officers. As the man fled, she woke up a housemate, 19. They found the housemate’s laptop had been stolen from her room.
Tips can be directed to the Bellingham Police Department at 360-778-8800. After hours, call 911.