Man flashes woman on American Tobacco Trail in Durham

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A man reportedly flashed a woman on the American Tobacco Trail (WTVD)

Authorities in Durham are investigating after a man reportedly exposed himself on the American Tobacco Trail.

It happened around 11:55 a.m. Wednesday in the south area of the trail, just outside of downtown near Fargo and South streets.

Police said a woman was jogging south down the trail when a man heading north approached her.

The suspect then exposed his private area and briefly following the woman, according to authorities.

No injuries were reported.
The suspect was described as a black man, around 28 to 30-years-old, with an average build and short stubble on this face. He stood about 5' 6" tall.

He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and blue jeans.

"This should be a safe space," said jogger Amy Alspaugh. She spoke with ABC11 during a routine run Thursday afternoon. "I never wear headphones when I run so I can stay really focused and aware of what's going on around me."

Police urge those who use the trail to carry a cell phone in the event of an emergency and consider exercising with a friend. Alspaugh admitted she doesn't carry a cellphone when she uses the trail, but agrees with police that she should.

"It's totally disappointing," Alspaugh said of Wednesday's incident. "It's terrifying. And I have arguments with my husband all the time about how I need to be safer and how I need to not run on this trail. But you can't just live your life constantly in fear. You kind of just have to go out and do it."

Nearby resident Mary Uthe walks along the trail often as a motivation to get out of the house. Without the American Tobacco Trail, Uthe says there's not much else she can do.

"I'm always shocked when something like this happens," Uthe said. "I think it's a pity we have to deal with this."

Uthe says she's been approached by "questionable people" on the ATT several times.

"I just run. I don't mess around with it," she explained.

Furthermore, she urges other exercisers, especially women, to remain strong.

"Don't give up your freedom to this kind of intimidation," Uthe advised.

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