The Serial Hugger: Is It a Crime to Trick Strangers into Giving You a Hug?

Dozens of women in Des Peres, Missouri, have complained of being the victim of a serial hugger that the local press is calling "Jack the Gripper."

But how did the man con a hug from so many women? Here's how:

According to their reports, the alleged hugger typically approaches women while they are shopping by themselves, pretends to know them as a former neighbor, and then asks for a hug under the pretense that it is his birthday, Des Peres Detective Marshall Broughton said.

"He'd say, 'Hi, remember me? I lived down the street in the corner house. How ya been?'" Broughton said. "Obviously [the women] didn't remember him, but he did it so quickly and convincingly that they felt embarrassed that they didn't know him."

Des Peres police identified the man, who is 44, but did not arrest him because of uncertainty about whether his actions were criminal, Broughton said.

Link (Photo: Shutterstock)

So, what say you, Neatoramanauts? Is it a crime to trick a stranger into hugging you?

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It's creepy as hell, but I wouldn't call it a crime. Maybe if he had a boner jabbing them in the stomach,leg,wherever... THEN it would be a crime? :P
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It's threatening behaviour, certainly. He's preying on the more vulnerable women, and I can't see how it wouldn't escalate. He's like one of those guys who, when you don't laugh at his crass joke will get angry that you don't get that he's being funny. Ha. Ha. And so many women are so over-socialized that they just can't stand to seem rude, even in the face of a potential threat.

If a guy did that to me (not that I'd let it get to that point these days, but when I was much younger) I'd at least try to get him charged with assault. That is just not normal, nor at all acceptable.
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I call foul. It is manipulative, which is a halmark of a sex offender. The "boner" really is not the issue. The power and control is the point. He may masturbate later remembering how he got to invade pretty girls' personal space. This is not a good guy. At 44 yrs old, he is old enough to know he is in the wrong. I know plenty of women, from Boston, New York, and New Jersey that would respond to his behavior by knocking out his teeth.
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