Mystery groper grabs again

A female student was groped from behind while walking outside Harris Millis on Feb. 13, a crime alert stated. She hasn’t been the only victim. There have been a total of nine groping incidents since December 2010 that are believed to involve the same suspect, the alert stated. The police services, Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations and the Burlington Police are investigating incidents involving an unidentified male suspect, according to the alert. The alerts stated that a man would inappropriately touch a woman and then flee the scene of the crime. Female first years living on Athletic Campus said that they were not worried about the incidents. “I should be more concerned, but I still feel safe on campus,” first year Katie Murray said. “My roommates are more nervous than I am. [They] text or call me to make sure I don’t walk back alone.” One first year said she wasn’t afraid of walking home alone, as long as she was aware of her surroundings. “It’s something to watch out for, but overall I wouldn’t say that [the groper] makes me nervous,” first year Ashley Maiolo said. “I feel like as long as you use a bit of common sense, it really shouldn’t be something to faze you.” The male is described as Caucasian, about 5 feet 7 inches in height, medium build and in his 20s with short brown hair, the alert stated. The suspect has been seen wearing two different jackets, according to the crime alert. One is a dark-colored jacket with a hood, and the other is white-hooded with black sleeves. He has also been known to wear jeans or dark-colored pants and light shoes, according to the Burlington Free Press. The police urge all citizens to be aware of their surroundings while walking or running, and avoid being distracted by listening to music or talking on a cell phone, especially at night, UVM Police Captain Tim Bilodeau said. The incidents were reported to have occurred both in morning and evening hours, with the majority in the Prospect Street, Pearl Street and Colchester Avenue area of Burlington, he said. Law enforcement also announced the posting of a “substantial cash reward” for information leading to the suspect’s identity and arrest, the Burlington Free Press stated. Anyone who has more information on these incidents is encouraged to call UVM police or leave an anonymous tip at www.uvm.edu/police.