She was looking at her phone, but the man wanted her to watch him masturbate


An incident of lewd conduct was reported Monday morning south of the Western Washington University campus, but it was uncertain if it was related to a rash of voyeurism and indecent exposures that have plagued the area since August.

Bellingham and Western Washington University police officers responded to the report of a man masturbating in his car about 8:15 a.m. on 21st Street at Larrabee Avenue on the border of the Fairhaven/Happy Valley neighborhoods.

“It is not known if this incident is related to recent incidents of lewd behavior near or on campus,” said an email from WWU.

More than 20 such instances have been reported in recent months, and police believe several are linked to the same person.

University officials said Monday’s incident occurred as a WWU student was walking on a sidewalk, looking down at her cellphone. She heard a man’s voice and saw him sitting in a parked car with “his pants down or off, and was masturbating.”

The suspect was described having a dark complexion, medium-length hair, dark eyes, no facial hair, no piercings, no tattoos, wearing a black zip-up jacket. The vehicle was described as cream-colored or white 1990s/2000s compact four-door sedan with rounded corners and a beige interior.

Anyone who has information can call Western Washington University Police at 3911 or 911, anonymously at 360-650-7233.

Tips can also be sent to Bellingham Police Detective Sue Howell at 360-778-8682, anonymously at 360-778-8611, or online at cob.org/tips.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

List of the most recent lewd incidents:

▪ Nov. 6 : A Western Washington University student walking on the sidewalk near campus saw a man sitting in a parked car “with his pants down or off, and was masturbating.”

▪ Oct. 29: A man was hiding in a shower in a women’s bathroom in a residence hall on Western Washington University’s campus. Two women saw him.

▪ 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.

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