Police released a sketch Friday, Jan. 8, of a man wanted for exposing himself to young women in a neighborhood north of Western Washington University’s campus over the past few months.
Since late October, officers have taken eight reports of indecent exposure near Laurel Park, a neighborhood populated largely by college students.
Two of those reports were made within a few hours of each other Wednesday night, Jan. 6, said Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.
First, a college-aged woman was sitting in her car around 8:20 p.m. in the 700 block of High Street when a man came up to the passenger side and flashed his genitals at her, according to police.
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Less than two hours later, at 10:16 p.m., another woman said she’d been walking in the 1000 block of Billy Frank Jr. Street when she heard a strange sound that she thought, in hindsight, was made to get her attention. She looked over to some bushes to see a man looking directly at her, masturbating. She described him as in his 20s, perhaps 5-foot-11, with a thin to medium build, brown hair and wearing a plain black T-shirt.
The second woman had the clearest description yet of the flasher and helped police to make a sketch of the suspect, a white man. That sketch was released Friday.
Six other similar reports had been made in the preceding months.
“I can’t presume that this is all the same person, but it’s the same kind of behavior in the same area,” Vander Yacht said.
▪ 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 cellphone north of campus around 6:40 p.m. in the 900 block of North Garden Street 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.
Tips should be directed to Detective Sue Howell at 360-778-8682.