Police seek man seen masturbating on bench near Palo Alto high school

(Courtesy of Palo Alto police)

PALO ALTO (KRON) — Police are looking for a man who was seen masturbating on a bench next to a Palo Alto high school Thursday morning.

A Henry M. Gunn High School security officer reported the incident to police at around 8:20 a.m. By the time officers arrived, the suspect had left.

The man had been sitting on a bench on the Bol Park Bike Path, which runs from Hanover Street along Cornelis Bol Park and Gunn High on Arastadero Road.

The bench the man was sitting on faced the football field but was separated from the path by some bushes, so people passing behind him on the path would not have been able to see what he was doing, police said.

A school security officer saw the man masturbating from campus. While the security officer was reporting the incident to police, another staff member captured the act in a cellphone video, in which a man and a teenage girl are seen passing behind him.

The suspect did not attempt to communicate with the passersby or call attention to himself, police said.

Investigators are not aware of anyone who saw the incident other than the two school employees.

The man is light-skinned and stands about 5 foot 10 to 6 feet tall with a medium build.

He was wearing light blue jeans and a gray hooded sweatshirt that concealed his face from the cellphone video, which police will not release to the public.

Another lewd conduct incident was reported along the same path on Sept. 30, but farther north toward Bol Park, police said. Police have not identified any suspects from the September incident and do not know if the same suspect is responsible for both crimes.

Anyone with information about this incident has been asked to call Palo Alto police dispatchers at (650) 329-2413.

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