Dear PoP – What can I do about the “Columbia Heights Creeper”?

Photo by PoPville flickr user christopher.poole

“Dear PoP,

I’m curious to know if your other readers have encountered this extremely creepy guy that’s been stalking women in the area of 14th and Florida pretty much every weekday morning around 8 am (usually 8:15 is when I am passing by) for the last couple weeks- right in the area by the Pica Taco, which is delicious, btw.

Anyway, this guy hovers and waits for a woman to approach then starts walking toward her and begins to rub his bare stomach and then… This is the point where I stop watching and walk as fast as I can. It’s become extremely concerning because it’s clear that he stays in this specific area waiting for women to pass and will switch sides of the street depending on where women are walking. He’s a black male, maybe late 20’s or early 30’s (I’m terrible at estimating age and I really try not to make eye contact), wears glasses, and has been wearing a black jacket lately.He’s getting more aggressive and quickly approaches.

This morning I was relieved to see him walking to the opposite side of the street as me and thought I wouldn’t have to deal with him- turns out he was trying to avoid being seen by a police car that was driving by. As soon as it passed, he spotted me and immediately came back to my side. This freaked me out, so I turned around and started walking in the direction of the police car, now stopped at the light at 14th (but still a decent distance away). It was enough to scare him off, which makes me think he’s been in trouble with the law before or at least knows he could get in trouble for this.

I’m not sure what to do here, short of altering my walking route. I used to see him on New Hampshire walking up from U Street. It was less creepy then because he seemed to be walking from point A to B, rather than hanging out in an area waiting for women to, um, rub himself to- though he was still doing the stomach rubbing thing back then but it came across as more of a “maybe he has a few screws loose” then “this guy is definitely getting sexual gratification out of this” type thing.

I’m reluctant to call 911 since I’m not even sure if it constitutes a crime. I know I feel icky, but since there’s no physical contact, he doesn’t say anything to me, and I never look long enough to see if he exposes himself, I’m not sure what I would tell the 911 operator. It’s weird because I’ve observed him enough times to know it’s a pattern and that he waits there and intentionally crosses paths with women, but each incident taken separately might just seem like a weird guy walking down the street rubbing his stomach (even if it is an extremely grotesque rub)?

Any insight is much appreciated, this is the first time I’ve legitimately dreaded walking to work.”

I think it’s very important that MPD and then social services are notified. So to be blunt – I would not hesitate to call 911. You never know if this sort of thing can escalate into something more aggressive. I strongly believe that if you feel threatened you are completely within your rights to call the authorities and let them work it out. Odds are this will be a social services situation. But you needn’t feel threatened every time you walk to work – that is unacceptable in my opinion. What would you guys recommend for this situation?

Recent Stories

7175 12th Street, NW photos courtesy nailsaloon From a press release: “nailsaloon, D.C.’s leading purveyor of premium nail and beauty care service, is thrilled to announce the opening of its…

Sweet City Ride

Thanks to E for sending this super sweet 1954 Chevrolet Coupe. Sweet City Ride is made possible by readers like you!

“Dear PoPville, Spotted in Shaw on N St. Are we doing sharpie signs now? Was not aware.”

If you have any animal/pet photos you’d like to share please send an email to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com with ‘Animal Fix’ in the title and say the name of your pet and…

We are excited to announce that the 2024 Washington Award application opened today!

The 2024 Washington Award offers four cash prize awards of $15,000 for individual artists working in the field of music, dance, visual arts, and interdisciplinary practice (one award per category). This award, one of the largest grants in D.C. available to individual artists, provides unrestricted cash support to artists at critical moments in their careers to freely develop and pursue their creative ideas.

Since its inception in 2001, the Washington Award has recognized artists in music, dance, interdisciplinary practice, and visual arts. In a renewed commitment to supporting the artistic community of Washington DC, the Washington Award is eligible to DC artists who prioritize social impact in their practice.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Unlike our competitors, Well-Paid Maids doesn’t clean your home with harsh chemicals. Instead, we handpick cleaning products rated “safest” by the Environmental Working Group, the leading rating organization regarding product safety.

The reason is threefold.

First, using safe cleaning products ensures toxic chemicals won’t leak into waterways or harm wildlife if disposed of improperly.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

20’s & 30’s Singles Happy Hour

Singles on Socials Presents: DC 20’s & 30’s Singles Happy Hour

Our last singles happy hour drew over 250 of DC’s most eligible singles, creating a night to remember! Now, we’re back for more fun at Expat DC, Foggy Bottom’s

DC Labor History Walking Tour

Come explore DC’s rich labor history with the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America and the Labor Heritage Foundation. The free DC Labor History Walking Tour tour will visit several landmarks and pay tribute to the past and ongoing struggle


Subscribe to our mailing list