Last week, customers at the Moe’s Southwest Grill on Mississippi State University’s campus got a little more than they bargained for when a man exposed himself in line.
According to the MSU Police Department Chief of Police Vance Rice, the individual “pulled it out” in Moe’s and fled the scene when Moe’s employees were on the phone reporting the incident.
Mya Harvey, the cashier on duty that witnessed the event, said she ran to the back of the store and told her manager who then called the police. When Harvey and her manager returned to the front of the store, the man had already fled.
“I was scared to come back to the front because I didn’t want him to remember my face,” Harvey said.
Unfortunately for the perpetrator, the MSU Police Department is located directly across the street from Moe’s, which allowed officers to immediately engage in foot pursuit of the suspect.
After a foot chase that took the man around the police station where he attempted to enter the station’s back door, the man managed to make it to his vehicle. One of the MSU PD officers attempted to bust the suspect’s car window with his baton, but the window did not break. The man pulled out and drove away.
“It was wild there for a few minutes,” Rice said. “He got back to his car which was parked down here and he had backed it in so he was able to pull right out. As he’s getting into the car, one of my officers pulled his baton and tried to bust his window but the window didn’t break and so he was still able to get in and take off,” Rice said.
Sid Salter, MSU’s Chief Communications Officer, confirmed the story. He said MSU PD officers nearly caught the man before he made it to his car.
“They came within steps of apprehending him on the west end of the Junction but he got into a running car and was able to escape,” Salter said.
From there, the man drove his car down the pathway in front of the Perry Cafeteria and almost ran into two students. He then turned right down Creelman Street and crashed through the gate arms that block the road during business hours.
“There were two (students) that stepped out and one just happened to be looking that way, had headphones on, took two steps back and he went right in front of him,” Rice said.
While the perpetrator managed to evade the police, there is a warrant out for his arrest for felony fleeing along with a misdemeanor charge for indecent exposure, Rice said. Police were able to track down the identity of the suspect through the tags on his car, and, according to Rice, the suspect had been previously convicted of statutory rape.
Rice stressed the importance of the public partnering with the police to keep their community safe.
“Even if we don’t find them, thank you for reporting it so we can (have a chance),” Rice said. “If you don’t report it there’s no chance that we can ever do anything.”