Monday, May 17, 2010

Police Warn Of Man Touching Female Joggers

From HoCo PD:

Howard County police are investigating two incidents in Columbia where a man followed women and touched them inappropriately.

In the first incident, which occurred March 29 around 6 p.m., a 28-year-old Columbia woman reported she was jogging on Vollmerhausen Drive near Dragon Claw when an unknown male suspect approached her from behind and began to follow her.

The victim reported suspect bent down to tie his shoe and touched her inappropriately as she jogged past him. The suspect continued to follow the woman, and when she approached a resident on Polished Stone and called for help, the suspect fled eastbound on Vollmerhausen.

In the second incident, which occurred on May 10 at approximately 5:45 p.m., a 22-year-old Columbia woman reported she was running on Vollmerhausen Drive near Early Spring Way when a man of a similar description bent down to tie his shoe and then began to follow her. She said the man touched her inappropriately before she was able to run away.

In both incidents, police searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect. He is described as a black male; 18 to 30 years old; 5 feet, 6 inches tall; 180 pounds; dark complexion; short hair; round cheeks with acne or razor bumps; and an oval face.

In the first case, he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, baggy navy blue jeans with the bottoms rolled up and white tennis shoes with blue symbols on them. In the second case, he was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, baggy navy blue jeans and black high-top sneakers.

Police offer the following safety tips for residents walking or jogging on sidewalks or pathways:

• Familiarize yourself with the area, and know your route before you travel. • Stay on the designated sidewalks and pathways, and do not venture off into isolated areas.
• When possible, bring a buddy.
• If traveling alone, tell family or friends where you are going and when you expect to return.
• Stay alert, and carry a cell phone.
• Do not wear headphones because they may distract you from your surroundings.
• If a stranger approaches, follows you or makes you feel uncomfortable, turn around, call police and head toward a group of people or a home.

Police have increased patrols in the area on bike, on foot and in cars. Anyone with information is urged to call 410-313-STOP. Callers may remain anonymous. If you notice a suspicious person in the area, call 911.

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