A man was seen masturbating in public Monday night near Western Washington University, but it’s uncertain if the incident is connected to several recent reports of lewd conduct in neighborhoods near campus, police said.
Bellingham Police investigated a complaint about 10:05 p.m. at Laurel Park in the Sehome neighborhood north of the university, Lt. Mike Johnston said. A woman said she saw a man masturbating behind a tree as she walked past, Johnston said.
“Unknown at this time if it is related to other cases and detectives will be looking into the case,” Johnston said. “Patrol checked the area, but the suspect was gone.”
Johnston said the suspect was described as a tall, slender white man in his 20s. He was last seen wearing jeans and a white baseball shirt with red sleeves.
Police have investigated 10 or more complaints of voyeurism and indecent exposure in recent months, many of them near the WWU campus.
Some of the cases show similarities, such as the suspect exposing himself or masturbating in a public place. In other instances, the suspect attracted the attention of people inside a home and exposed himself near a door or window.
In all cases, the suspect was a white man in his 20s. He’s always gone before police arrive.
Police are urging residents to keep their blinds closed at home and immediately call 911 when they see lewd conduct.
Tips can be sent to police Detective Sue Howell at 360-778-8682; anonymously at 360-778-8611, or online, cob.org/tips.