WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Washington police are issuing a warning after three reports of a stranger grabbing women while they’re out walking.
A Washington woman said she was touched inappropriately Monday morning while walking along Main St. before work. Washington police said it’s become an issue lately and are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings.
Washington Police Chief Mike McCoy said his department is investigating three reports of women being sexually harassed by a man while walking on sidewalks or along area trails in the last week.
“It’s something we’re investigating right now as we talk,” McCoy said.
Ashton Linsley said it happened to her Monday morning at around 5:40 a.m. on her daily walk before work.
“I’m definitely very insecure about my surroundings, I mean that’s a road that I take every day, so the fact that it’s no longer safe is concerning,” Linsley said.
Police Chief Mike McCoy said the man is described as a skinny, African-American male with dreadlocks and is believed to have ties to the Washington area.
“He’s been on the trails and he’s looking for single women and there are a lot of things we want people to be aware of,” McCoy said.
Linsley said she was listening to music when a man came up behind her and grabbed her from behind. She said she wants others to be on the lookout.
“Be aware of your surroundings, that’s the best you can do,” Linsley said.
McCoy said when walking alone to avoid distractions and make sure no one is following you from behind.
“If you are a female especially, you should probably try to walk with somebody else and if you’re by yourself I wouldn’t wear headphones or earbuds because you want to hear your surroundings,” McCoy said.
Linsley said she’s doing fine after the incident, but hopes the man is caught before it becomes more than just a sexual harassment incident.
“I’m more mad than anything. That person took my sense of security,” Linsley said.
She said it’s important for people to look out for one another and if someone sees another person walking alone, make sure no one is creeping behind them. Police said if this does happen to you while walking to make noise, run, and get to know the safe places in your neighborhoods.
Anyone with information is urged to call Washington Police at (309) 444-2313.
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