RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Residents of Richmond’s Museum District are still searching for answers as the man they call the “neighborhood creep” still hasn’t been caught.
While it is impossible to confirm that the repeated sightings are of the same individual, 8News first reported a man had been exposing himself in the neighborhood in December 2022.
Haleigh Fitzpatrick-Owen told 8News she has encountered the man at least three times now. Most recently, she says she saw him walking back and forth by her home on Sunday, Jan. 15.
“He had stopped by my apartment building and appeared to be looking at my windows to see if they were locked or not,” she said. “It was very unsettling to see he had returned especially after I invested in so much security.”
Fitzpatrick-Owen said that the first time she saw the man was when she was taking her trash out one night.
“He was standing right by my bedroom window,” she said. “I said ‘What are you doing? Can I help you?’ and I repeated myself, like, three times. He never answered. He just stood staring at me.”
Earlier this month, one resident told 8News that she heard a man outside screaming that he was “the public masturbator.” Another resident said the man tapped on her window before publicly masturbating. Days later, they said the same thing happened again.
“It definitely appears to be escalating,” Fitzpatrick-Owen said.
Now, Fitzpatrick-Owen and others in her community are working together to find the culprit and protect themselves.
“We are not just cowering. We are really working together and we are making sure that we feel prepared if anything does happen,” she said. “We’ve shared information about self-defense courses with one another. As far as going to the shooting range and getting trained in case a break-in happens.”
Fitzpatrick-Owen describes the man as about six feet tall, of average build with a unique, wide-stance style of walking.
“We are not just sitting ducks. A lot of us have invested in security. We’re communicating with another and we’re trying to get him caught,” Fitzpatrick-Owen said.
At this point, no one has reported any physical interaction or injuries during encounters with the man. Residents are now saying they want to see him caught before that happens.
The Richmond Police Department tells 8News they are continuing to investigate.