News & Opinion

Windsor Park Neighbors Harassed by Sexual Predator, CMPD Slow to Build Case

Community members advocate for action by authorities

Windsor Park neighborhood entrance in east Charlotte
Windsor Park neighborhood entrance off of Kilborne Drive (Photo by Justin LaFrancois)

UPDATE (11/18/21 12:35 p.m.): Police arrested a man fitting the description of witness accounts on Nov. 17 at 5:14 p.m. at the address registered to the license plate of the suspect vehicle. He was charged with indecent exposure and violation of a local ordinance. His bond amounts are $1,500 and $2,500, respectively.

Community members in east Charlotte’s Windsor Park neighborhood are speaking out about a man who has allegedly exposed himself to women on the street repeatedly for more than a year. The incidents have been happening regularly since spring 2020 at the earliest, and within blocks of Windsor Park Elementary School.

Some have described the incidents as frightening or aggressive, at times bordering on physical assault, as the man has allegedly exposed his penis multiple times and even pleasured himself in the direction of a woman while she was walking by. A similar incident recently occurred in the Evergreen Nature Preserve area of Sheffield Park, which has renewed calls from neighbors for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to act.

Emails between officers in the community and members who have made complaints show that officers are aware of the situation, though not much has been done to deter the incidents despite many in the neighborhood being able to positively identify him, his car, and his home.

Department officials say they’re still in the early stages of the investigation, and that they’ve been unable to act until now because no victims filed formal reports until November. Police have recently begun to take action, calling in at least one victim to view a photo line-up in hopes of identifying the man, but many residents say it took detectives too long to act on what for them has been an open-and-shut case. 

Neighbors have taken pictures of the man’s car and license plate and posted them in a private Facebook group, which was also shared on the Charlotte EAST community page, with a description of a Hispanic or Latino male in his twenties or thirties, average build and height with dark hair. They claim that he will typically park next to a house with large bushes or hedges and wait for a victim to approach before exposing himself. 

The suspect is also regularly seen walking with a German shepherd dog that he keeps off leash, including during alleged incidents of indecent exposure.  

I was just on a walk around the neighborhood and there is a corner that’s like a blind corner so I usually try to avoid walking on that side of the street,” the victim of an incident on July 15 told Queen City Nerve. “He was just around that blind corner — there’s this huge bush, kinda hedge thing and I would have been right there, so he must have known I was on that side of the street.

“I crossed the street and was on the other side of the street from him and he was kinda like, I don’t know, as if he was looking for something in the bushes,” she continues. “Then he got up and walked towards his car which was parked a little ways up and then once he got to his car he turned around, unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis and then started masturbating. And then he waved at me.”

The neighbor says she immediately called 911 and described the incident, as well as the man and his car, including his license plate number.

“It felt like the person answering 911, he felt very dismissive of the situation in the first place, like it didn’t seem like he was at all concerned about that situation,” she adds.

In a later call with CMPD that another neighbor recorded and shared with Queen City Nerve, an officer states that the 911 call on July 15 was held for more than an hour due to the department possibly “being short-staffed” or “tied up” before dispatch asked a sergeant to BOLO the call, meaning officers in the area would be on the lookout for the suspect but not respond directly to the scene.

The victim from July 15 made another 911 call on Aug. 10 when she came across the suspect’s car, by then recognizable to many Windsor Park residents due to the multiple incidents that have occurred in broad daylight, parked on the side of the street.

An eyewitness to the Evergreen Nature Preserve incident confirmed to Queen City Nerve that the incident, which involved a man exposing himself to women on the Sheffield Park neighborhood trails, involved the same make and model car with the same license plate and the same suspect description.

In an email to a Windsor Park resident on Nov. 15, Eastway Division Lt. Gil Narvaez stated that the investigation was still in its early phases because no official reports had been filed until recently. 

He added that in “almost all instances” of the indecent exposure 911 calls, the caller either did not want to speak to police or specifically stated they did not want to generate a formal report.

“It appears that the reason ‘folks are still being terrorized’ is because the folks who actually witnessed the offenses failed themselves to take action on the matter,” Narvaez wrote in response to the resident’s concerns. 

“We here at the police department all have mothers, daughters and sisters and completely understand how impactful an indecent exposure incident can be,” he continued. “We are very motivated to investigate and act on matters of this nature, unfortunately there is only so much we can do when victims and witnesses aren’t willing to come forward with actionable information.”

After initial reports of these incidents were shared with the Nerve, we drove to the man’s house multiple times to confirm the same car would be parked in the driveway, confirming the suspect lives in the Windsor Park neighborhood, on the same street as Windsor Park Elementary School (WPES).

Sign in a sexual predator's yard in the Windsor Park neighborhood in east Charlotte
Some residents have taken it upon themselves to make other community members aware of a sexual predator in their neighborhood (Anonymous source)

Community members have told us they want to see the suspect charged with a sexual crime and made to register as a sex offender, which would force him to move away from his current home due to its proximity to WPES. Indecent exposure is a class 2 misdemeanor in the state of North Carolina that can carry up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In some cases a person convicted of indecent exposure may have to register as a sex offender for life. Indecent exposure only becomes a felony when the victim is under the age of 16.

Tracing the timeline of predatory behavior and police response

At the time of this writing, there have been seven incidents reported in the Windsor Park community.

While the first known incident with this man occurred in March 2020, the first official police report was filed Nov. 8, 2021, after the Evergreen Nature Preserve incident when officer Luke Poplin began reaching out to people who had called 911. Three subsequent reports were filed over the phone or through email with Poplin on Nov. 10.

In a recorded phone call on Nov. 9, Poplin told a resident that Det. Justin Miller would be assigned to the case but that Poplin would be leaving for vacation the next day through Nov. 24. Residents emailed others in the Eastway division in search of contact information for Det. Miller so as to follow up on the investigation but were ignored or denied.

On Nov. 15, Det. Jenna Parker was assigned to the case and began reaching out to victims to come in for a photo lineup of potential suspects in the case.

In an attempt to establish a more clear timeline of CMPD’s response, Queen City Nerve has made multiple public records requests for any reports and digital communications between officers involving these incidents. Those requests had not been filled by the time of this writing.

In May 2020 one woman recalled a man standing naked in his doorway with his penis in his hand. As she continued by the home, he walked out of the doorway and stood in the yard watching her. In another incident in 2020 a man allegedly exposed his penis to an older woman as she walked through the neighborhood.

In March 2021 a man allegedly exposed himself to another woman walking on the streets of Windsor Park. On May 6, 2021, a woman reported that a man aggressively stalked and chased her before she found refuge in a neighbor’s home. He allegedly tried to enter the home behind her but the homeowner and his son were blocking him in the doorway. The suspect then walked into a neighbor’s yard and laid down. The neighbor took pictures of him lying in the yard, which Queen City Nerve has seen. Police were called and dispatched that day with no result.

In late June or early July 2021 another woman was stalked while walking her dog and as a man continued to follow her and get closer she turned around and yelled “Stop!” Shortly after, she was approached by another woman in a vehicle who said the same man had come up to her in her driveway while she was putting her infant baby in the backseat. She warned him that she would call the police if she didn’t leave the property.

The aforementioned indecent exposure incident occurred next on July 15, followed by the incident in Sheffield Park on Nov. 7.

Neighbors say they fear for their safety, and have concerns about what CMPD has and hasn’t offered to assist them through these incidents.

“I definitely don’t feel safe going on walks in my neighborhood alone anymore, even despite walking around with pepper spray,” the victim of the July 15 incident told Queen City Nerve. “That still doesn’t make me feel safe. And the knowledge that even when I call the police with what should be sufficient identifying information, they don’t care enough, it feels like, to make any moves or check out the situation. It’s disappointing.” 

“Like does it really need to go so far that someone gets raped or murdered before they take this to the level it needs to??!” another Windsor Park neighbor said over text message. “That’s terrible and terrifying.” 

If you or someone you know has been a victim of indecent exposure in the Windsor Park neighborhood, please dial 911 and request an officer to file a police report. Do not hesitate to reach out to Queen City Nerve to share your story.

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