A man allegedly masturbated in his vehicle on campus around 3 p.m. Tuesday, in a case of indecent exposure that University Police is now investigating.
According to a crime alert sent out by University Police Chief Dennis DeMaio, a female student approached the suspect in a silver Toyota Camry on South Campus Drive near the roundabout by Dan Black Hall after being flagged down.
“He was kind of yelling something at her. She couldn’t understand what he was saying and thought he needed directions or something, so she walked over,” said University Police Capt. Scot Willey. “That’s when she saw that all he was wearing was a t-shirt, nothing else apparently from the waist down, and appeared to be masturbating.”
The suspect, described as being a male in his 40s, possibly “of Middle Eastern descent” and wearing a dark-colored t-shirt, fled the scene before University Police arrived. He was last seen driving eastbound on Nutwood Avenue.
Police collected a partial license plate number of “5VW,” which Willey said could apply to vehicles unrelated to the case. However, he encouraged contacting University Police either way.
“That’s a good call for us if we can go out and just make contact and see that it’s just a similar plate,” Willey said. “We’re going through cameras and doing what we can with the information we have from the license plate.”
Alongside the crime alert, University Police is putting the information out in databases that can be accessed by other law enforcement agencies in Orange County to see if they have any additional input or prior experience with this suspect.
“(The roundabout outside Dan Black Hall) is a different area for us. It’s not very common. It’s very crowded, very packed, there’s a lot of people driving through there,” Willey said. “That’s why we’d love to get this guy because that’s pretty brazen for someone to sit in that crowded of an area and take part in that kind of an activity with that many people walking around and driving around.”
University Police did not give the name of the female student who was approached and made the call, as they don’t want her to be intimidated if they need her to be the witness for a police lineup in the future.
Although Willey said he has not often seen indecent exposure cases with this methodology at Cal State Fullerton, he said it is “extremely common” for people to pull up next to pedestrians to do things like ask for directions.
“If someone’s using that as a guise to get somebody over to their car, then yeah, we need everyone to be aware that somebody’s using that,” Willey said, adding that this case is a “perfect” example of why University Police advocates for a “see something, say something” mentality.
“This may be the only call, and in that case she did great,” Willey said. “The nice thing about the crime alert too, is she (couldn’t) have been the only one that he approached. We’re hoping there were other people and maybe they just felt reluctant about coming forward.”
There will be an increased presence of officers near the roundabout “over the next few days” according to the crime alert.
“A lot of people that come to Cal State Fullerton think that there’s a bit of a bubble here and that we’re all Titans and we’re here to care about each other, which is fantastic and it’s how a lot of us think,” Willey said. “It’s those incidents that we need people to break out of that shell a little bit and give us a call if they see it.”
Anyone with information related to the case is encouraged to call 911 or contact the University Police Detective Jose Rosales at 657-278-2191.