Jackson Police Department

Detectives haven’t found the person they say is targeting women on the east side of town, but their messages to lock doors and windows and to be on the lookout is resonating with people.

Over the last few weeks, police have received numerous calls about suspicious activity in East Jackson.

The calls come after the Jackson Police Department announced it’s on the hunt for a suspect who’s peering in windows and crawling into the beds of strangers in the middle of the night.

On Sept. 22 a resident called after seeing a man pacing back and forth on East Kelly Avenue the night before. The caller said the man was wearing sunglasses and a hat and left in a blue Subaru.

Police are urging residents to call 911 the moment they notice anything suspicious.

“If something is happening now, call right then,” Sgt. Russ Ruschill said. “If you feel you are in danger, call 911.”

Four officers responded to that particular report when it was called in the following day but didn’t find anyone.

On Sept. 23 a caller said someone was banging on her door at 1 a.m. in the area of East Kelly. That incident was also reported about 12 hours after the fact, police said.

“We are a 24-hour agency, Ruschill said. “If a guy is on your deck banging on your door, we want to figure out why.”

That same day another person reported someone knocking on her door, but it was in the middle of the day. Officers believe it may have been a census worker.

Another caller said she had a creepy interaction with a strange man on the National Elk Refuge.

Police are pretty certain the suspect or suspects they’re looking for strike at nighttime.

There were two separate reports from Labor Day weekend when women woke up to a man in their beds.

Then there was a report of a man masturbating outside a woman’s window. And another report of a man following a woman late at night.

Those cases are being investigated as voyeurism and sexual battery, and are the most similar to crimes that were committed in 2013 and 2014 in the same area.

In August 2013 at least three women reported waking up to find a stranger in their homes. In two of those cases the victims said the man was touching them inappropriately.

The reports stopped, but in October 2014 a woman reported waking up to a stranger fondling her.

The suspect or suspects in those cases was never found.

Police aren’t sure if they’re looking for the same man but say any information is better than none.

“Sooner or later someone will remember something, and it will be our guy,” Ruschill said.

If you have any information or have noticed suspicious activity, especially in East Jackson, call police at 733-1430. If you feel like you’re in danger, call 911.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or courts@jhnewsandguide.com.

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

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