Sheriff investigating trail streaking reports
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Authorities are investigating reports of a naked man confronting female hikers on trails in the midvalley region, incidents that reportedly go back to 2008.
Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis confirmed on Thursday that the investigation is “extremely active right now” and encouraged area residents to report any such incidents immediately.
None of the incidents reported so far have involved physical violence or interaction in any way, McGinnis stressed.
According to McGinnis, the incidents have been reported along the Red Hill hiking and mountain biking trails, the Rio Grande Trail and Catherine Store Road (County Road 100) east of Carbondale, and the Lorax Trail off the Thompson Creek Road (County Road 108).
An investigation is under way to determine if the different incidents are related or if there has been more than one man exposing himself to women in the woods, McGinnis said.
In a press release issued at 2 p.m. on May 3, McGinnis listed incidents that happened on March 28 and April 29 in the Red Hill area; April 22 along the Rio Grande Trail and Catherine Store Road (County Road 100); and May 2 along the Lorax Trail.
The men involved were reported in every incident to be white, but with hair that ran a gamut from red to gray to brown, and of different lengths.
In only the May 2 incident was the suspect described as having a beard.
In three cases he was said to have a “runner’s” or “athletic” build, and in once case “a medium to thick build.”
One area businesswoman, who asked that her name not be used, was hiking along the Lorax Trail on May 2, with a dog, when she encountered a naked man hiding in the brush off the trail.
The trail, she said, runs through a series of gullies and is heavily wooded on the slopes adjacent to the trail.
The dog, a German Shepherd, barked at something up the hill from the trail, alerting her to what she thought was local wildlife.
“I thought, ‘He must be chasing a deer,’ but then I saw this pink thing and thought, ‘What an unusual looking deer,'” she told the Post Independent on Thursday.
The “pink thing” turned out to be a naked man hiding in the brush uphill from the trail, she continued.
She had heard rumors of such nude men on the local trails, she noted, adding, “I’d been laughing about it for the last few days.”
The man made no move toward her, so she walked a little further along the trail and then hid to see what he would do.
As she watched, she said, the man emerged from the brush and walked away up the hill, avoiding the trail.
“It would have been pretty scary if I’d been by myself,” the woman admitted.
The woman called the sheriff’s office to report the incident, and said she was told by a deputy about the earlier reports.
“He did say he [the naked man or men] has been around for two years,” she said.
Another incident, confirmed by the husband of the victim in a telephone interview with the Post Independent, involved a man masturbating in the bushes near the Blue Creek subdivision, along 100 Road east of Carbondale.
That victim’s husband also requested that their name not be used.
Although the sheriff’s office had not returned reporters’ calls in recent weeks about the incidents, McGinnis on Thursday said the issue is at the top of the department’s list of concerns.
“People need to be prepared,” she said, citing a directive from Sheriff Lou Vallario that informing the public was more important than investigative results at this point.
“We’d rather run him off and not capture him, and have the public be aware,” she said, adding about the case, “this is evolving every single day.”
She urged people who have encounters such as the ones described to call the 911 emergency number immediately, instead of waiting.
“If they are in fear, that is an emergency,” she declared. “They should not be afraid that they’ve over-reacted.”
The department had pulled together more than 20 reports, going back to 2008, as of Thursday morning, she said.
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