ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) — It was quiet near the St. Cloud State University campus Monday evening, but it’s clear many had been talking about two recent disturbing crimes in the 700 block of 7th Avenue South.
“There’s a Snapchat like that’s sent around kind of like warning people like lock your doors, this has happened twice now,” said student Taylor Weyhrauch.
Monday morning, police say a 20-year-old woman awoke around 7:30 a.m. to a man, naked from the waist down, in her bedroom. When he tried to grab her ankles, she screamed for her roommates and pushed him away until he ran off.
“I think we’re all just kind of surprised that it would happen and like a lot of us know the people that it happened to,” said student Mackenzie Gerth.
She said she specifically knows the victim from 10 days earlier, when police say a man fitting a similar description broke into another home filled with female college students.
“They said he was like an older gentleman, they had never seen him in their life,” Gerth said.
Police said the man was naked and touching himself sexually in the woman’s bedroom, but escaped when the woman called 911. Gerth said St. Cloud State sent out alerts warning students to lock their doors, but she took it a step further when texting her roommates.
“We’re already really good about locking our doors, making sure that our windows and everything is locked. I was like we just really need to make sure that we’re doing it. And I was like we should probably all sleep with our doors locked just so that no one can attempt to get in our room,” she said.
Gerth said the property owner where one of the victim’s lives plans add more security to make sure tenants are safe. She said their peace of mind is also her priority.
“I think we are just more concerned about them and their wellbeing than we are about the guy walking around campus,” said Gerth.
Outside of reminding people to lock their doors, police said they will increase their patrols in the area where the crimes happened.
The victims both described the man as mixed race with darker skin, around 5 feet, 7 inches tall, short or shaved hair and facial hair on his chin or along his jaw line.
Anyone with information regarding the incidents is asked to contact the St. Cloud Police Department at (320)251-1200, or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at (320) 255-1301, 1 (800) 255-1301.