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Western Washington University police search for groper after early morning assault

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Police are looking for a man who ran up to a woman and groped her early Wednesday morning in Bellingham.

About 1:15 a.m., a female student was walking in the 100 block of Highland Drive near the tennis court by the Ridgeway Kappa residence when a man ran up to her, police said. The man put his hand down her pants and ran off.

Police said the man was about 6-feet tall, wearing a black hood, black pants and white tennis shoes. He was last seen running southbound near the tennis courts.

Police searched the area, but no suspect was found.

There have been 14 sex crimes in Bellingham since Jan. 1, an uptick from a total of nine last year, police say. Those numbers don't include assaults on campus.

Western Washington University spokesperson Paul Cocke said the school has sent out five alerts this year related to voyeurism or sexual assault on campus.