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Hope Mills police investigate exposure, peeping-tom incidents

Hope Mills police are investigating reports of early-morning incidents this week in which a man peered into windows, exposed himself and pointed a gun at a woman.

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. — Hope Mills police are investigating reports of early-morning incidents this week in which a man peered into windows and exposed himself.

Police Chief Robert Hassell said it's not clear if the three incidents on Monday and Thursday are connected. They occurred within approximately 2 miles of each other.

On Monday, three people called police to report a man looking into apartment windows on Hackberry Drive around 6:50 a.m., Hassell said. A person of interest has been identified in that case.

At 5:55 a.m. Thursday, a female jogger found a man with a gun standing in her yard on Old Railroad Way, police said. He pointed the gun at her and exposed himself, but fled when spotted by a neighbor. The woman was not hurt.

He is described as a black man, about 30 years old, with brown eyes. He is skinny, stands 6 feet tall and weighs about 165 pounds. He was wearing a baseball hat, black shoes and black pants.

A woman who lives in the same neighborhood reported that a man tried to break into her house on Hallwood Drive around 6:35 a.m. The man tore off a window screen.

"She alerted her husband, police were called, and the suspect fled the scene," Hassell said.

Hassell said police are investigating any possible connections between these incidents and a highly publicized string of rapes in the Fayetteville area and Hoke County.

The method of operation in those earlier cases – the attacker breaks into apartments or condos in the middle of the night – differs from that in the recent Hope Mills incidents. However, that doesn't necessarily prove anything, Hassell said.

"Easily, the suspect can change M.O.s – house versus an apartment. We're not ruling out whether it's related or not," he said. "We're considering everything, viewing these cases with an open mind."

Hassell urged residents to keep their guard up, be alert and inform police of suspicious activity.

"I can't say this enough, or say this more than enough: Any information that people have, please let us know," he said. "That may be the one piece of information that we can link these cases or just this one case together."



Bryan Mims, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Anne Johnson, Web Editor

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