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FIU students warned of bike-riding butt-grabber

FILE: FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus is pictured on Nov. 7, 2013.
FILE: FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus is pictured on Nov. 7, 2013. Special to the Miami Herald

A bike-riding butt-grabber is at it again on Florida International University’s main campus.

After two incidents of a man on a bike groping female students’ behinds were reported earlier this summer, the serial squeezer struck again this weekend, according to a university-wide alert sent out Monday.

“Since June of 2014, the FIU Police Department has received reports of a male who is grabbing female’s buttocks as he rides a bicycle past them while on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus,” the email reads.

The most recent incidents happened around 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday. This marks the fifth reported incident since June, said FIU Chief of Police Alexander Casas. Originally, only four were reported but police recently received a delayed one, Casas said. According to FIU’s campus newspaper The Beacon, the first ones were reported June 24 and Sept. 2.

FIU police have not yet confirmed that the incidents are related, but say they are similar enough to warrant the campus alerts.

Some students weren’t sure what to make of the unusual email alert.

“When we saw it, we thought that it was a joke,” student Veronique Perez told Miami Herald news partner CBS4.

Others downplayed it, Casas said.

“Even some of the victims were minimizing the potential seriousness of it,” Casas said.

Police, however, are not taking the matter lightly.

“We take every incident serious,” Casas said, adding that they are treating the incidents as separate misdemeanor batteries.

The butt-grabber could face up to a year in jail for each count if caught.

Email, phone and text alerts are commonly used by universities to inform students about suspicious and criminal activity on and around campus.

As a result, police have received additional leads, Casas said.

He advised students to “be aware of your surroundings, know who is around you” and “know where you’re going.”

Police are asking for help from the public. Anyone with additional information should notify police at 305-348-2626 or through http://police.fiu.edu/.

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