BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Police in Bellingham are on the hunt for a peeping Tom who may be responsible for more than a dozen crimes.
It’s been happening for months around Western Washington University and investigators say sometimes the suspect is touching himself right outside his victim’s windows.
And, Bellingham police believe there could be multiple suspects on the loose.
“For a lot of our young women who have been victims of this, that has been the worst thing that has happened to them,” said police Sgt. Claudia Murphy.
The warning signs are clear in the neighborhoods surrounding the university campus, and one sign posted at a small park reminds readers to stay alert.
“Behavior like this can certainly escalate,” said Murphy. “Who knows how long this has been going on?”
Police say since July they have received more than a dozen reports of someone peering through windows – sometimes tapping on the glass – and some victims reported seeing the suspect openly exposing or pleasuring himself.
“That is a huge invasion of safety and privacy when you think someone may be looking at you in what you feel as the safety of your home,’ said Murphy.
In total there has been more than 20 cases reported to police; some on campus, the others on both the north and sound sides of the university.
And, police released a sketch that investigators believe has been acting aggressively towards at least six more victims in the past week. So far investigators aren’t sure if he’s responsible for all 20-plus cases.
“The blinds are closed at dusk, doors are locked whether we’re home or not,” said one Bellingham woman who asked Q13 News to conceal her identity after she says someone tapped on her first-floor window several months ago.
And because there have been so many reports she worries she may already know the suspect.
“They could be a neighbor, somebody I say hello to and walk by,” she said.
Police are reminding folks to close the blinds or curtains in your first-floor windows – and also to turn off the interior lights, and turn on any lights on the outside of your house to minimize the likelihood of becoming a victim.
Police are also asking anyone who spots lewd or activity that’s out of the ordinary to not hesitate to call 911.