Indecent exposure. Photo: Citizen reporter

A Berkeley City College student confronted by a man masturbating in downtown Berkeley has put out an alert about her experience, and says she hopes authorities can find the man soon.

The woman asked to remain anonymous due to the nature of the incident, but said she has alerted BCC, Berkeley High and the YMCA-PG&E Teen Center downtown. She has also reported the incident to police.

The woman was outside 1941 Center St. on Tuesday at about 4:40 p.m. when she pulled into a parking spot. She saw a man staring at her as he started to approach her vehicle.

“I stayed in my car, uncertain of what he was going to do. He then began to walk in front of my car back and forth while he was staring at me and as I feared an assault I started up my car,” she told Berkeleyside. “He then exposed himself to me and began to masturbate and I immediately reversed my car and drove away, driving to Berkeley P.D.”

She said she was also concerned because the man exposed himself near the teen center, at 2111 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, as teenagers hung out in front of the building.

She said she included the photograph with her description because she hopes the man can be apprehended: “The photo is graphic but all telling of the incident.”

She continued: “I am truly hoping this man is found and he cannot inflict any more of these heinous crimes.”

Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel confirmed to Berkeleyside on Thursday afternoon that BPD is investigating the report. Frankel provided a narrative of the incident that matched the woman’s account to Berkeleyside.

Frankel said the suspect appears to be an unkempt black man in his 40s with black hair and brown eyes, wearing black pants over orange sweatpants, a blue Cal sweatshirt, and a green canvas jacket. The man is believed to frequent the downtown Berkeley and south campus areas.

BPD asks anyone who sees the man to call the Berkeley Police Department at 510-981-5900.

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist of the Year...