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Police making progress on ‘Exercise Stalker’ case

— Cazenovia village police have received a large volume of information and leads regarding the so-called “Exercise Stalker” and are making progress in the case, and, because of all the publicity, there have been no recent sightings of the stalker, said Police Chief Michael Hayes.

“The investigation is continuing and we’re following leads that cannot be discussed because of the ongoing nature of the investigation,” Hayes said. “We hope to be able to give the public a progress update within the next two weeks or so.”

The stalking incidents were first reported to police in late September, when an unidentified male or males in an automobile were following young women jogging or bicycling on village streets. Reports have identified a smaller orange Ford Focus, a white Ford Explorer and a black pickup truck as possible suspect vehicles, Hayes said.

Since the case was first reported in the press in early October, Cazenovia police have received a large number of calls from women reporting similar stalking incidents in the village dating back to June, Hayes said.

All the publicity — not just in Cazenovia but from regional media as well — seems to have caught the stalker’s attention, as there have been no recent sightings of him for more than week, Hayes said.

At the Oct. 8 village board meeting, Hayes told the board he would like to put extra patrols on the road until this threat is resolved, but because the department is down three crossing guards, the people who would normally be out on these extra patrols are guiding children to school.

Hayes wanted to make clear, however, that there have been extra patrols on the streets because of this case. He has been on the roads himself doing patrols after his regular eight-hour day. He said the update he gave the board that was reported in the Cazenovia Republican was not intended to cause fear or panic in village residents, just to give information.

He said the department received “a ton” of new leads in the case because of the publicity, and they have been following up those leads and making progress on the investigation.

Hayes continues to urge village residents who see something suspicious or feel they are being followed to report it immediately either by calling 911 or the village police at 655-3276.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at editor@cazenoviarepublican.com.

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