A man exposed himself early Friday to a woman who was outside a residence hall on Western Washington University’s campus.
Around 2:58 a.m., a female Western student called university police and reported seeing a man exposing himself outside the Ridgeway Gamma residence hall.
The student told police she was sitting in a lounge on the southwestern side of the building when she saw a man trying to enter the building, but could not get in because it was locked, according to a Western police alert.
The man then exposed himself while looking at the woman, which the woman saw through a reflection in the window, the alert said. The man then fled.
The student described the man as white, 5-foot-10 and about 160 pounds. She couldn’t provide police more information on the man’s age or appearance.
University police searched the area and notified Bellingham Police, but the suspect was not found. Bellingham Police officials said they are unsure whether this incident is related to the two others earlier this week, or the numerous other instances near Western, the Columbia, York and Sehome neighborhoods, or the cases from early 2017.
Police have investigated at least 12 or more complaints of voyeurism or indecent exposure in the last few months and have yet to develop a suspect.
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.
Bellingham Police Lt. Danette Beckley said detectives are exploring connections between the incidents, and noted that while there are similarities in the occurrences, the police department acknowledges there may be more than one person committing the crimes.
She said detectives are “using investigative techniques and resources in an effort to identify and arrest the suspect, or suspects, responsible for lewd conduct.”
Both Bellingham and University police said they have increased patrols in neighborhoods surrounding the university, but that added attention appears to have not deterred the culprit’s actions.
“We still urge people to close their blinds during the hours of darkness. The saying ‘If you see something, say something’ certainly applies to this situation,” Beckley said. “The more assistance we have helping us, the better our chances are of being able to respond and identify the person(s).”
Beckley said they have not been able to get enough of a description for a composite sketch for any of the recent lewd conduct incidents.
Anyone who has information about the Friday incident can call Western Washington University Police at 3911, or 911. University security assistants, or Green Coats, are available to escort students or others on campus by calling university police.
Tips can also be sent to Bellingham police Detective Sue Howell at 360-778-8682, or anonymously at 360-778-8611, or online at cob.org/tips.
Beckley said police are asking anyone who notices something or someone they believe may be linked to the incidents to call 911 so an officer can respond immediately.
List of the most recent lewd incidents:
▪ Oct. 27: A man tried to enter a residence hall on Western Washington University’s campus, but couldn’t, so he exposed himself to a woman nearby.
▪ Oct. 25: A man was masturbating outside the basement window of a home in the 1000 block of North Garden Street.
▪ Oct. 24: A man was seen masturbating in Laurel Park in the Sehome neighborhood.
▪ Oct. 14: A man was masturbating on the back porch of a home in the 1200 block of North Garden Street.
▪ Oct. 13: A man wearing a tiger mask and dark clothing was seen masturbating outside the window of a home in the 300 block of Gladstone Street. The man knocked on the window a couple times to make sure the resident could see what he was doing.
▪ Sept. 26: A neighbor reported a male was using a phone to record or photograph his neighbor from outside the bathroom window of a home in the 2600 block of Peabody Street.
▪ Early September: Five voyeurism incidents occurred near Western, in the 800-1000 blocks of East Maple, Billy Frank Jr. and High streets, as well as an occurrence in the 1300 block of Franklin Street. Most of the incidents took place between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
▪ Early 2017: Five cases of voyeurism within a week happened near Western, mostly in the York and Sehome neighborhoods. A male was reported to have shined a flashlight or phone into women’s windows.