Peeping Toms pop up in University area

Four incidents occurred at the beginning of October.

Nicholas Studenski

The University of Minnesota and one of its surrounding neighborhoods had four reports of Peeping Toms during the week of Oct. 3. Police aren’t yet sure if the incidents are related.

Three of the incidents occurred in the Southeast Como neighborhood in one 24-hour period. Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said in an email statement that they were similar in time and location.

“I don’t believe that at this point we have enough information to definitively say [all three] cases are linked,” he said.

The other incident occurred in the second-floor restroom of Peik Hall on Oct. 3. A female faculty member was using the restroom when she saw what appeared to be a man’s pair of feet step down from the toilet in another stall, according to the police report.

The victim left the restroom and asked a male coworker to find the suspect. She and her coworker saw the suspect leave the restroom while concealing his face. The suspect was gone when police arrived.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said incidents like the one in Peik Hall are uncommon on campus.

The best thing to do in such a situation is to make noise and then contact police, he said.

“Yell, scream, make some noise and exit the restroom as quick as you can,” Miner said.

Peeping into windows is a misdemeanor in the state of Minnesota, and repeat offenses are felonies punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

The three incidents at the University-area residences occurred between 22nd and 27th avenues southeast. Two of the incidents affected University students.

Biology, society and environment junior Marissa Jurik  was the victim of an incident on Oct. 8.

She said she thought she saw a man’s hand through the textured glass window in her shower two weeks before the incident.

“I told my roommates about it,” Jurik said, “but we all kind of just blew it off.”

On Oct. 8, Jurik said, her roommate saw something from her bedroom window.

“She saw this guy walk past, and he had a camera in his hand,” she said.

Her roommate saw the man climb on a railing and point his camera into the bathroom window. Jurik’s roommate called 911, and they saw another man walk by the bedroom window.

Jurik said she felt uncomfortable at home after the incidents but has since started to feel better.

“I bought some pepper spray,” she said. “I’m not going to let those two guys make me feel unsafe.”

University student Angela Ouyang said she and her roommates have encountered a Peeping Tom at their house more than once. The most recent incident was on Oct. 9.

“A man has come by on multiple occasions,” she said.

Ouyang hasn’t reported each incident to police, she said, because at first she wasn’t sure that the incidents were Peeping Toms.

“We heard rustling, but we didn’t really go outside to check,” she said.

Ouyang and her roommates have formally reported two or three incidents to police. Once, she and her roommates saw a man peering in a window using his cellphone camera.

On another occasion, they noticed a man looking through a small hole in a wall. Ouyang said they patched the hole and have been more careful to close window blinds and lock doors, but the man has continued to return.

“He’s just been getting more aggressive with his attacks,” she said.

Ouyang said she and her roommates felt unsafe after the incidents, and she was concerned the incidents weren’t getting an appropriate response.

“We’re pretty freaked out since it happened,” she said. “We all got Tasers.”