Serial Hugger On the Loose

Categories: Crime
Free Hugs.jpg
David Cintron via Flickr
Cops are on the look-out for a man embroiled in a more conniving form of the Free Hugs campaign.
Ladies of St. Louis beware. There is a new menace stalking the aisles of local grocery stores looking to exploit gullible women.

He's slick. He works fast. And he's got a hankerin' for some huggin'. That's right -- he's a serial hugger.

A Des Peres police captain told the Post-Dispatch that the man approaches women in Schnucks grocery stores, pretending to know them from a long time ago. Once the victim is disarmed with polite embarrassment, he goes in for the kill.

"Today is my birthday," the charlatan says. "Will you give me a hug?"

Police have heard from at least one woman who obliged, only to realize later that she'd been had. The hugs are not criminal or pervy, just obtained under false pretenses. Similar incidents have been reported in Wood River and Fairview Heights.

Cops have a suspect in mind. We'll keep you posted once they've unmasked the embrace rapist. Until then, ladies, remember it's OK to get Larry-David-awkward on anyone coming at you with a nonconsensual greeting. Your arms, your choice.

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