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Police release surveillance image of BYU groping suspect

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Posted at 10:59 AM, Mar 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-19 23:40:54-04

PROVO, Utah -- A serial groper is making female students at Brigham Young University change their attitudes and habits on a campus they thought would be a haven from such events.

"It made me kind of scared because you think you're at BYU and you're really safe," said student Ashley Thetford.

Police at the flagship LDS university say the first two incidents happened on January 23 and the most recent two happened on March 19 at 7:45 and 9:45 am.

For most of the crimes the suspect has shown the same method of operation: he either acts as a student casually standing around or like a jogger.

"As they walk by, he fondles them and then flees the area," said Lt. Arnold Lemmon of the BYU Police Dept.

One incident diverges from the usual pattern, with police wondering if it's an unrelated crime or an escalation of the same suspects crimes.

At 3 a.m. Tuesday, a suspect walked into a student's apartment. According to police, when she walked out to see who was there, the suspect grabbed the victim, held her, and groped her. Her roommate came into the hall when the victim screamed and the suspect fled.

"I mean to go into a residence and hold a woman and fondle her. That's taking it another step," Lemmon said.

Anyone with information about the Wyview incident, Wednesday's incident or any other related cases are asked to call University Police at 801-422-2222.