COLUMBIA, Md. - UPDATE | Howard County police are investigating a third report of a suspect touching women on pathways in Columbia.
Police confirm that investigators believe the cases are linked as each victim has described a similar suspect. The most recent case was reported Sunday when a man talking on a cell phone approached a woman as she walked in the area of Oakland Mills Road near Dobbin Road, touched her inappropriately and ran off.
"I have started to run with a little can of mace," Donna Hosang, a runner with the Howard County group Striders, said.
Earlier in the month, police received two similar reports. On Aug. 9, a woman reported that she was jogging on a footpath near Majors Lane when a suspect ran past her and inappropriately touched her. Two days earlier, on a nearby footpath off of Old Montgomery Road, a woman reported that a man ran up behind her as she was jogging, inappropriately grabbed her and fled.
In each of these three cases, the suspect is described as a black male in his 20’s or 30’s with short
hair, clean shaven, medium build, approximately 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. He has been seen wearing a dark T-shirt and shorts that appeared to be running clothes and a white polo-style shirt with trim.
Police have increased bike patrols on pathways and are asking anyone with information to contact investigators. They also believe there may be other victims who have not reported these incidents, and any new information could help investigators identify the suspect and make an arrest.
Police added that they are also looking for a suspect in a similar, yet unrelated case that took place Aug. 15 in Jessup. In that incident, a woman reported she was running on the Patuxent Branch Trail near Iron Bridge Road when she was approached by a male teenager who grabbed her arm. She pulled away and fled.
That suspect is described as a white male, approximately 16 years old, blonde hair, wearing a gray T-shirt, khaki shorts and gray Nike shoes. The case is still being investigated.
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