A man who exposed himself to a girl walking her dogs in Palo Alto on Monday evening is at large, police said today.
Officers responded to a report of an indecent exposure incident that happened in the 600 block of Melville Avenue at about 7:15 p.m., police said.
A 13-year-old girl was walking her two dogs west on Melville Avenue from Middlefield Road and saw the suspect walk toward her, according to police.
The suspect, who never spoke to the girl, smiled as he pet the dogs and as he stood up, he lifted his sweatshirt to show his penis, police said.
The girl immediately walked away but saw the suspect trailing behind her for about three-quarters of a block, according to police.
Once the girl reached her home, she told a parent who then ran outside while calling 911 and saw the suspect cross Middlefield Road toward Rinconada Park, police said.
Officers responded to the scene but were unable to find the suspect, according to police.
Police admit they've taken several reports of people being approached on the streets in recent months, but neighbors insist the area is safe.
"I've never seen anything," Palo Alto resident Jane Manning. "I certainly believe that happens, but haven't had a problem."
Meanwhile, Lt. Zach Perron said Monday's alleged incident was different than previous ones.
"We had a few earlier this school year, at other parts of town, but they generally speaking involved men in cars," he said. "This person was on foot."
The suspect was described as a white man between 25 and 30 years old with tanned skin, an average height, skinny build and black "scruffy," wavy hair that ended at his neck, police said.
He wore a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, gray and green cargo pants and white sneakers, and was carrying a black backpack, according to police.
Parents are advised to tell their children to be alert and inform a trustworthy adult if they see something suspicious, police said.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Palo Alto police at (650) 329-2413. Those who wish to remain anonymous may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message or voicemail to (650) 383-8984.