WASHINGTON - Police are looking for a man accused of multiple sex crimes while riding on Metro.
On Wednesday, a woman reported that the suspect masturbated in front of her on the Blue Line near Capitol Hill.
The man was identified in another incident last Friday where he allegedly grabbed a woman’s buttock at Congress Heights.
The repeat offense and other lewd acts onboard Metro trains has WMATA mounting a campaign to catch these criminals.
Aujena Harris reported the most recent incident. She told FOX 5 she typically avoids transit, but had to take the Blue Line with her sister on Wednesday.
“I looked through the rear view of the glass, and I see the guy masturbating,” Harris explained. “So I took my sunglasses off and I told him, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’”
Harris said the man had his pants down past his pelvis to his thighs, so he tried to pull his shirt over his crotch.
Another witness managed to snap a photo of the man as he got off at the Potomac Avenue station to give to police.
“If that lady wasn’t there, he could have done anything to me or to my sister or to anyone,” added Harris. “I could tell that wasn’t his first incident.”
Harris was right.
Metro Transit Police cross-referenced the photo with other past reports and found a match. On Friday, that same man was caught on surveillance video after a woman reported to police that he grabbed her buttock at Congress Heights.
In response to the most recent incident, Metro released the following statement to FOX 5:
“The conduct reported today is abhorrent and has no place on our transit system. Metro Transit Police detectives have the case, including the photo provided by the victim, and are actively working to positively identify the suspect. At that time, we will seek an arrest warrant and pursue prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.
"We would take this opportunity to encourage customers to report any incident of harassment, indecency or misconduct – just as the victim did today. There are several ways to do so: By calling Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-2121, by sending a Text Message to “MyMTPD” (696873), or by submitting a harassment report at wmata.com/harassment. Metro Transit Police want to hear from customers even if the conduct does not rise to the level of a crime.
"In investigating these cases, Metro Transit Police use the full resources of our technology – including the system’s digital cameras cameras, which number in the tens of thousands, to identify suspects and advance prosecutions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsPxBOan4TU"
WMATA also told FOX 5 they are mounting a campaign against sex offenders on the transit system and plan on releasing information on current cases this week.