MOUNT VERNON — Some local women say they have encountered a man on the bike path near Gambier Road, who has made them nervous enough to leave the path and contact police.
Observed by at least a half dozen people, the man’s face was mostly covered by a gray mask, sunglasses, and the hood from his long-sleeved sweat shirt. He was riding a bike, and has been seen on more than one occasion over the past few weeks.
Knox County Sheriff David Barber said that although nothing criminal has been reported, when citizens report something unusual that makes them nervous, it is taken seriously by deputies, who are being extremely watchful for the individual during the evening hours when the women have reported seeing him.
According to Monica Hunicutt of Mount Vernon, she spoke to Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Selby, a member of the KCSO mountain bike patrol, about the man after she and family members saw him watching people and making gestures at women on the bike path on two different nights. The incidents were weeks apart.
“I’m glad he’s taking me seriously,” Hunicutt said of Selby. “I don’t want any harm to come to anyone.”
“This is why we have the sheriff’s office mountain bike patrol,” said Barber.
He said having officers on the bike path to respond immediately when a call comes in cuts response time and can mean the difference in catching a suspect or not.
Mount Vernon Police Capt. George Hartz said he checked with dispatchers and officers who may have heard reports about the individual’s unusual behavior, and there has been nothing criminal reported.
The sheriff encouraged bike path users who are concerned about suspicious persons or unusual activities to call the sheriff’s office as soon as they see it.
Hartz said people using the bike path should use the same common-sense safety precautions as they would any other place, including carrying a cell phone.
“Call the police department to report any suspicious activity or someone suspicious in the area,” Hartz advised. “We many never see them, but the presence of a cruiser or an officer in the area may scare them away.”