There's been a series of reports about a man exposing himself, masturbating in public

Women in south Minneapolis have repeatedly seen a similar man near a similar car recently.
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At least eight times in the past six weeks, women in south Minneapolis have reported seeing a man completely naked in public, standing near a light blue vehicle, and sometimes masturbating.

The stories from these Minneapolis residents became a huge discussion point on NextDoor in recent days, with most of the reports happening in the neighborhoods between lakes Nokomis and Hiawatha, and Interstate 35W over the past six weeks.

Many of these sightings include a description of the suspect, and they're all quite similar. A white male with shorter brown hair, probably in his 30s, driving or standing near a small, light blue car. He's either getting naked, close to naked, or completely naked. And in some cases he's been masturbating or aroused.

The recent reports

One user put the reported sightings on a map, with the earliest dating back to June 10. The red circles are the similar naked man sightings. The purple marks indicate incidents that might be related, but the behavior and description are different.

Three have been reported in the past three days. On the morning of July 17, a woman biking saw him standing behind a light blue car, shirtless – when she passed him, she noticed he was completely naked.

A few hours later a different woman walking her dog saw a man of a similar description in a small, light blue car. As she walked by he got out, was totally naked, and began masturbating.

And early Wednesday morning, a runner saw a man by a light blue car stripping down to be completely nude, about a block from a nearby school.

What police are doing

When asked about the string of incidents, a Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson told GoMN the 5th Precinct is assigning a specialist and an officer to follow up on all the reports. Whatever they get will be sent to the department's Sex Crimes Unit to continue investigating.

The police department knew about "some, but not all" of the incidents reported on NextDoor, he said.

"So now that we have this we are going to go back and see if there are any we might have missed," the spokesperson said.

Park Police also have a couple of incidents they're looking into, both near Lake Harriet, a spokesperson told GoMN (both of which are on the map above). The suspect was masturbating during the July 16 attack, the spokesperson said.

Minneapolis PD said they're working with Park Police to see if it's the same suspect in all of the different cases.

Wednesday morning, the city sent out a police advisory saying they've gotten reports, calls and emails about a suspect that has been exposing himself – and sometimes groping victims – in south Minneapolis.

The advisory also lays out what you should do if someone exposes themselves in public.

Minneapolis PD also asked anyone with information in these cases to report it to Lt. Scott Zierden at 612-673-3558.

65 percent of women say they've been harassed

The group Stop Street Harassment did a national survey in 2014 asking people about street harassment.

They found 65 percent of all women had been harassed in public in some way – it could be leering or whistling, or making lewd comments; or even more egregious behavior, like being groped or blocked from going somewhere.

Of those who said they were harassed on the street, 37 percent said a stranger had masturbated at or in front of them. Nearly 57 percent said they'd been touched or grabbed in a sexual manner by a stranger.

Indecent exposure is usually a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, but can be upgraded to a felony if they're a repeat offender.

'Oh Hell No!' bike ride planned

Some neighborhood residents in response planned an "Oh Hell No!" group bike ride for July 21 in the areas where these incidents have been reported.

"We're taking to the streets (by bicycle) to say #OhHellNo! We won't stand for this!" the event says.

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