A creepy naked dude has been terrorizing women in southwest Minneapolis, and they’re not having it.
The average-looking white man has been flashing his penis, often erect, to unsuspecting women around Lake Nokomis, Lake Harriet, and the surrounding areas. He drives a periwinkle blue Chevy Spark.
On July 15 Jennifer, who asked that her last name not be used, was sitting on her stoop having a cup of coffee, petting her neighbor’s cat. She lives on a street that’s only a couple of blocks long with a dead end on both sides, so there's not a lot of traffic.
That morning, however, she spotted a bright, flashy vehicle parked a couple of houses down. “I noticed the car and saw him messing around outside his car,” she tells us. “I didn’t really want to engage anyone. I had just woke up so I wasn’t really looking at him.”
Ten minutes later, he was coming toward her. “The next thing I know, he’s coming right at me, up toward my yard, completely naked,” she says. “I got one glance at him, and I ran inside and slammed the door.”
The next day, Jodi (who also asked that we not use her last name), ran into the Periwinkle Perv when she was out for her morning bike ride. It was about 7 a.m. when she saw PP at 21st Avenue, about three blocks from her house.
“He had no top on as I’m coming at him,” she recalls. “I thought it was strange.” Then, as she passed him, the man turned to show that he was completely naked.
“I said, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you?’” she says. “He went from being naked to being excited, to being aroused.”
Jodi, who had been listening to a podcast, pulled the headphone jack out of her phone and started dialing 911. She looked at the plate numbers and started calling, but by that time he had jumped in his car and driven away.
She remembers him being about six feet tall, with a slim to medium build and dark hair. “He put his hands on his hips and smiled,” she says. “He was very confident and enjoying my reaction.”
A third woman, who asks that her name not be used, saw the flasher when she was walking her puppy down 44th Street. The man was by his blue car, and she assumed he was texting... until she noticed that he was entirely naked. “I do a double take and am like, ‘No way, are you fucking kidding me?'”
The woman tried to take down his license number, which was difficult because her puppy was distracted by another dog hanging out in one of the yards. The man took off in his car. Then, as she headed toward 43rd and Elliot, the man returned. There were people approaching down the street from her, and the man, after making eye contact with her, drove down Elliot and kept going. “That was creepy to me; that he followed me,” she says.
The women have been less than impressed by the response from the police. “I had to be aggressive to get anyone to give two shits about what happened,” Jodi says.
They all called the police to make reports, but it seemed like the police weren't giving it a priority. The woman who had been walking her puppy didn’t even tell the police officer what happened. When the cop arrived, “he just stands there, he doesn’t speak,” she recollects. “I said, ‘I’m assuming you are here so I can make a report.' He said, ‘Uh huh.'”
The cop then said he’d gotten a call about a guy allegedly selling drugs and left without taking her statement.
So she connected with others through Next Door and Facebook, and began compiling stories. Another neighbor (not one of the victims), created a map with all the locations and descriptions of incidents. The map includes day-time sightings of PP, as well other incidents that involve assault at night (in some cases, the assailant is naked).
(Next Door, find the higher-res map here)
After making some noise online and also putting pressure on City Council members, some of the women were asked to look at a selection of suspect photos, but none say they have gotten a good look at him.
They might have had better luck looking at full-body shots. “Nobody wants to see that. It’s a freaking boner…" says Jodi. "That’s why it’s so hard to think of his face. You can’t believe that this person is completely naked.”
Most of the women who have come forward about the Periwinkle Pervert have been in their 30s and 40s, but Jennifer says she knows of a parent whose young teenage daughter also was victimized by the flasher.
Jodi notes that she was two blocks from Folwell Elementary school during her incident. “That’s what worries me,” she says. “A child seeing it or this escalating.”
Meanwhile, another group of women organized a neighborhood watch called the Oh Hell, No! Bike Ride.
“I don’t want this happening to anyone in the community,” says Shannon Nordby, one of the organizers of the ride. “We are going to find this person and make him stop.”
Lt. Mark Swanson from the Park Police said he couldn’t comment on details of the investigation, but notes that he hadn’t seen anything like the serial flasher in recent years. “It’s happened in the past, but I haven’t seen it lately.”
Swanson says the investigation falls under the park police jurisdiction because two incidents happened at Lake Harriet, “and I’m looking at other cases close to Lake Harriet and close to parks in South Minneapolis that match [his] description,” he says.
Swanson encourages people to call 911 if they see anything. “According to the website Next Door, a lot of people have seen the suspect but haven’t called to report it,” Swanson says. “So it’s hard to get an exact number.”
Swanson also told City Pages that the sexual deviant need not be “caught in the act” in order to press charges against him. “If the witnesses can identify the person after the fact, I think that’s chargeable,” he says, “but that’s the question. They need to be able to tell the investigator that that is the person that did it, with confidence to testify in court.”
According to Swanson, the suspect is described as “a naked white male, 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with short brown hair, skinny, and described as being fit.”
The car below is similar to what the harasser drives.