A man in Missouri who randomly hugged 36 women could face charges of unwanted contact. The man has since been dubbed “Jack the Gripper” and “John Wayne Embracey,” but police have not yet released his real name.
He reportedly approached women in the Des Peres, Missouri area, claiming to know them. He would then ask them for a hug, stating that it was his birthday, according to Det. Marshall Broughton.
“He’d say, ‘Hi, remember me? I lived down the street in the corner house. How ya been?’ Obviously [the women] didn’t remember him, but he did it so quickly and convincingly that they felt embarrassed that they didn’t know him,” the detective said.
The suspect was identified after one of the victims took down his license plate number and police reviewed security tapes from a local supermarket.
Police then hauled “Jack the Gripper” in for questioning, but released him about an hour later. Police are not uncertain as to how to proceed with the matter. They could possibly charge “Jack,” 44, with third-degree assault, but it’s unclear whether hugging is actually against the law.
“This thing has caused more of a stir than anything else going on in this town,” Broughton added.
The Warson Woods Police Department’s Facebook page states, “Formal charges of 3rd degree assault are pending with the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.”
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- ‘Serial Hugger’ Is Allegedly Accosting St. Louis Women With Unwanted Embraces (businessinsider.com)