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Naked man sightings no laughing matter

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - It's a beautiful day in Columbia's Shandon neighborhood. Cool, crisp air. Lots of sunshine. Not a cloud in the sky. And a naked guy.

Wait, that last thing definitely doesn't belong.

Yes, some of you out there are finding the story of a naked man being spotted in the Shandon and Heathwood communities to be amusing, but Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott says this is a serious matter.

"If someone's going to do that I don't know what their potential is," said Scott. "This is serious. He could get up to 3 years in jail."

Columbia police are sending more patrol cars into the neighborhoods now thanks to reports filed by at least two women about the man who keeps showing up while they're out for their morning run.

The reports describe a middle-aged male, weighing 150 to 180 pounds with a short haircut or a receding hairline.

Police say witnesses have spotted the guy at least four times starting in mid-December. The reports say the man is always seen in the early morning hours in areas where women are working out.

The suspect may have been getting away with this behavior for quite some time. One of the women who complained to police says she's seen the guy at least a half-dozen times over the past 6 years.

Both women and men are on alert in the two neighborhoods.

Scott says the man has been exhibiting sexual behavior, but has not made physical contact or said anything to his victims.

"We don't have any reports that he has been aggressive toward the women or that he has jumped out," said Scott. "Now is that potential there? Absolutely because you gotta think if someone is doing this, they have the mindset that they want to perform this act to scare women or terrify women."

Scott says anyone who encounters this suspect should not try to confront him, but definitely report to police as soon as possible. You can always call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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