New York's finest are currently hunting a "smirking sicko" who, having exposed himself on the city's subway to a 22-year-old web developer, found himself exposed across cyberspace and the NY Daily News after the quick-thinking victim snapped him on her mobe's* camera.
On 19 August, Thao Nguyen was at the receiving end of the unwanted attentions of the "degenerate" (NYDN's choice of words - good show) when travelling on the subway in Manhattan after a job interview. According to the Daily News, she claims "a middle-aged, blond-haired man dressed in a black shirt and jeans sat down across from her".
Nguyen takes up the story: "He kept staring at me. I could feel his eyes on me. I wanted to avoid eye contact so I looked away, but I could see his reflection in the window. I saw him massaging himself and then he unzipped and pulled it out. I thought, 'I can't believe he's doing this in the middle of the day!'
"I turned on the camera. He was still masturbating. I aimed it and quickly took the shot. As soon as I took it, he zipped up and got off the train," Nguyen explains.
Nguyen immediately reported the matter to the police, and then posted the photo on the both Flickr and Craigslist, quickly provoking a flurry of cyberactivity. Bloggers picked up on the story, as did the Daily News, which published the smirking sicko degenerate's portrait.
Within days, six other victims had come forward claiming the perp has flashed his assets at them, too. Then came the breakthrough: a dozen people claimed to recognize the man as Dan Hoyt, owner of two health food restaurants, both called "Quintessence", and called law enofrcement agencies.
On Tuesday, the Daily News reported that 43-year-old Hoyt had previously been cuffed in 1994 for "public lewdness" at the same subway station where he had flashed all his victims. The paper said he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two days' community service.
As we go to press (no emails please - that's the traditional phrase) Hoyt is still a fugitive from justice, although surely the ensnarement of the net's current Most Wanted is purely a matter of time. ®
*Yes, yes, we know what you really want: the model in question was a Samsung P777 with 1.3 megapixel, perv-busting camera facility.