Crime

Suspect in lewd conduct near WWU isn’t the prolific voyeur

Bellingham Police say this man is suspected of exposing himself to a woman behind the counter at JJ’s Food Stop, 2219 Douglas Ave., on Saturday night, Dec. 9.
Bellingham Police say this man is suspected of exposing himself to a woman behind the counter at JJ’s Food Stop, 2219 Douglas Ave., on Saturday night, Dec. 9. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham Police say a suspect arrested in an indecent exposure last weekend is not the man sought in a series of similar cases dating to late summer.

Javier A. Pequeno-Contreras, 26, of Bellingham, was booked Wednesday into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of indecent exposure, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Claudia Murphy.

Murphy, who heads the family crimes unit, said Pequeno-Contreras was identified from video of the 10:30 p.m. Saturday incident at JJ’s Food Stop, 2219 Douglas Ave.

“Mr. Pequeno-Contreras exposed himself as he walked into the market and was seen on surveillance camera,” Murphy said. “The detective investigating this particular case developed leads and was able to identify Mr. Pequeno-Contreras as the suspect.”

Gladstone mug
Bellingham Police say this man, not a suspect arrested in an indecent exposure last weekend, is being sought in a series of cases dating to late summer. Bellingham Police Dept. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Western Washington University sent a text message to students and staff warning of the incident just south of campus. According to the text and a subsequent email, the man bought a beer and exposed himself to a woman behind the counter.

“It should be noted that at this time, Mr. Pequeno-Contreras has been arrested for this incident only, but further investigation is ongoing to see if there are any links to other cases,” Murphy said.

But Murphy said Pequeno-Contreras is not a suspect in the more than two dozen incidents of lewd conduct, voyeurism and possibly an assault on the WWU campus and in surrounding neighborhoods since late summer.

“This particular case is in no way related to the series of voyeurism/indecent exposure cases where the suspect is described as a white male, 20-30 years of age with brown hair, for which we recently released a sketch. Those cases are still being actively investigated,” she said.

As the incidents continue and a suspect has not been arrested, Western Washington University officials are urging students and staff to remain vigilant and take other safety measures.

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

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