by Christ Motola
A stranger has been stalking female students on the Catholic University of America campus. The stranger has been approaching the women, photographing them, and running away typically before the women can respond.
The Department of Public Safety recently released an alert reporting that since January they have “received several reports of a male subject on campus taking photographs of female students. It has been reported that the male is using a camera equipped with a flash and after taking the photograph, he runs away.”
The first of these reported incidents took place on January 27th, where the unidentified male took a student’s picture before fleeing. Her picture was again taken on March 3rd. On March 13th, another student reported being photographed by the same man at the Brookland-CUA Metro Station.
The incidences are not confined to the edges of campus. Multiple incidences were also reported as taking place in Centennial Village, outside of Pangborn, the Opus Hall Parking Lot, and the Edward J. Pryzbyla Student Center.
Witnesses have described the male suspect as “a Hispanic or medium complexion male; 5’6” – 5’8” in height; appears to be 30 – 40 years of age; slim built; last seen wearing a grey hoodie jacket; dark colored pants; and a dark colored knit cap.”
“At first, the incident really bothered me,” one of the photographed students anonymously told The Tower. “I was walking into the Pryz and I saw a flash go off from the left. I stopped in my tracks and saw a man running away. I realized after I saw the description that he had taken my photo. I went to DPS and reported the incident. I’m not really sure why he took my photo or why it’s happening so often. I hope DPS can figure out who he is and why he is doing this, and put a stop to him soon.”
Catholic University’s Department of Public Safety recommends several measures that students can take to ensure their personal safety on campus: including staying “alert and be aware of your surroundings,” avoidance of any “alleys, short cuts & vacant lots,” while remaining on “well-lighted, busy streets,” and “walk with a companion whenever possible.” If any student feels unsafe while walking on campus, they can request a Campus Police escort or utilize the students employed by Safe Walk.
The Department of Public Safety can be reached at (202) 319-5111.