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Transient harasses students on campus shuttle

The man had a previous run-in with University Police earlier in the morning.

Students+board+the+East+Loop+Shuttle+near+Brotman+Hall.
Students board the East Loop Shuttle near Brotman Hall.

Students board the East Loop Shuttle near Brotman Hall.

Bobby Yagake

Bobby Yagake

Students board the East Loop Shuttle near Brotman Hall.

Zulema Suarez, Staff Writer

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A man not registered as a Cal State Long Beach student was kicked off the East Loop shuttle Monday morning for harassing students.

Shuttle driver Elia Lopez, known as Maria, recalls the incident as scary and unsafe.

“It was so weird because when he got on, he blended in with the rest of the students. At one of the stops, one of the girls was getting off and when she passed by me, she said, ‘You know you have a guy in the back of the shuttle?’ and I said, ‘Yes,’ and she said, ‘Well he’s touching himself,’ and all I responded was, ‘Oh okay,’ and that’s when I called BJ,” Lopez said.

Lopez says she did not want to communicate the entire story on the phone to her boss so she would not cause a panic with the students on the shuttle.

“The man had been sitting in the back between two girls touching himself, but I just told [BJ] that I was having an issue with one of the people on the shuttle and he showed up right away to take care of it.”

Lopez also recalls the suspect having a newspaper with him.

“It was scary because he had a newspaper with him and he left it in the back and when I went to go get it, it was all cut up, so I’m just hoping he didn’t have a knife on him,” she said.

When BJ showed up, he asked what direction the suspect went in and saw him from a distance.  BJ was able to approach the suspect and call the University Police Department in order for him to be arrested.

The same suspect had encountered campus police just a few hours before.

“Day shift [officers] came into contact with that gentlemen in a female restroom on campus,” said Detective Chris Brown of the UPD. “They issued him a citation for violation of the Long Beach municipal code for being in an opposite sex restroom and released him from the scene.”

Brown said that incident in the women’s restroom occurred around 6 a.m. while the call from the bus drivers came in between 9:30 and 10 a.m.

According to Brown, there was no report of a sexual element to the shuttle disturbance.

“[BJ] told our dispatchers that the individual was making comments to other students that made them uncomfortable,” Brown said. “When the driver realized he was a transient and wasn’t a student, that’s when she kicked him off the shuttle bus. At no time did the bus driver indicate to us that the individual was masturbating or exposing himself.”

Adam R. Thomas contributed to this article.

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