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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Serial Hugger Strikes Again! (And Again, And Again, And Again)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 1:49 PM

click to enlarge Hello, Clarice.
  • Hello, Clarice.

The serial hugger is back.

Turns out the man Des Peres police arrested a couple of weeks ago for hugging women in the supermarket was also turned over to the Warson Woods police the same day. Apparently, they too have been getting reports for months of a strange man tricking lady shoppers into giving him a hug.

And that's just the tip of the personal space-invading iceberg. Since the story hit the news in late June, Des Peres Detective Marshall Broughton says he's heard from 32 different women all telling the exact same story.

The hugger's identity is still not public, but he needs a name. Jack the Gripper? John Wayne Embracey?

The man arrested and questioned is a 44 year old white male with brown hair who lives in the county. Each time, he approached women in the supermarket, pretended to know them from "the neighborhood," then asked for a hug for his birthday.

"It's all the same, all generic. 'Remember me from down the street, I was in the white house on the corner, we had the lab,'" says Broughton. "These victims are just embarassed they don't remember him. They play along."

Now it seems the same thing was happening in Warson Woods, at a business on the 9900 block of Manchester Road.

"One victim reported being kissed on the lips by the man," says a post on the Warson Woods police department Facebook page. "Formal charges of 3rd degree assault are pending with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's office."

The man was finally identified after one of his victims took down his license plate and police consulted security tapes from the supermarket. Broughton says his victim out of Des Peres easily picked him out of a photo lineup.

The hugger's territory now includes Des Peres, Kirkwood, St. Charles, Fairview Heights, Wood River, Warson Woods, and Wentzville. Someone even commented on our previous post claiming the exact same thing happened to her at a Target in Edwardsville.

"All I could do was stand in shock after the hug was givin becuz I had nothing else in mind as to what to do to get away from him," the commenter wrote. "the man ur looking for has a more round face not skinny but not over weight hourly in his forties and a light shade of brown in hair color. Don't know if that helps but I hope someone catches him soon."

Broughton says charges should be coming from the St. Louis County Attorney's office soon, and until then the identity of the man will continue to be withheld. He says the man has a lawyer and that since he got caught on the 20th, the hugging incidents seem to have stopped.

"For now. . . " he sighs. "We'll see."

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