Friday, September 26, 2003

Nice to meet you, "Steve"

For about a year and a half, women in Baton Rouge, La., lived in desperate fear of a serial killer. Six women were plucked from their homes, raped and murdered between Sept. 2001 and March 2003.

The fear that gripped the city was unreal. My sister, who lives about a quarter-mile from the scene of one of the killings, actually bought little cans of pepper spray to hand out to my wife, my mother and my other sister when we went down to visit this past spring (the weekend the last victim was killed ... so thanks, sis!).

In May, they caught the guy who they think killed the women - oddly enough here in Atlanta.

Anyway, after living through the serial killer nightmare, the female residents of Baton Rouge are, of course, much more careful about their personal security now.

Or maybe not ....

In The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) this morning was a story about a series of incidents at apartments around LSU in which female residents have been waking up to find a strange man either watching them sleep or actually "snuggling" with them in bed.

He calls himself "Steve".

"Steve" has entered at least nine apartments near LSU in recent weeks while female students were sleeping.

"Steve" sometimes folds the girls' clothes, sometimes makes himself a snack and always either watches the girls sleep or climbs in bed with them for some cuddle time. He's managed to not raise too much attention because he's apologetic when the girls wake up and says he thought he was in a different apartment.

He hasn't - at least so far - tried to rape or murder these girls.

The "Steve" incidents are made possible, apparently, because few of the female residents bother to lock their doors in these apartment complexes.

In fact, the roommate of one of the girls "Steve" snuggled with says most people in their complex have an "open door" policy - they all leave their doors unlocked so friends (and friends of friends) can come and go freely, anytime.

It was only after some of the girls started talking about "Steve" coming over that everyone began to realize this was a recurring thing.

These girls all live less than two miles from the scenes of three of the serial killings. The last of the killings happened just this past March about a mile away.

Now, of course, the girls are buying deadbolts and pepper spray.

Baton Rouge Police were raked over the coals for not catching the killer and not "keeping women safe" for months after it became obvious a serial killer was on the loose in town. So it's easy to understand this quote from the B.R. Police Chief:

"Did we not learn a lesson from the serial killer investigation to lock the damn doors?"

Sleeping women awaken to 'guest'


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