They started popping up about three months ago, just as the snow began to melt.
The first photographs were found in Fargo’s Island Park, and they all showed the same thing: male genitalia.
Fargo Police Lt. Pat Claus won’t say much more about the images, except that they appear to be snapshots of one person’s private parts.
The photos, some spied lying on the ground, are often picked up by members of the public.
Claus did not disclose the total number of photos found to date, nor would he describe the format.
He said there have been seven “events,” with most images showing up in neighborhoods near North Dakota State University.
A five-member team from the police department’s criminal investigations unit is giving attention to the case, said Claus, who added that it is too early to speculate on what type of charge someone might face if caught.
“Like all cases, the devil is in the details,” he said.
Investigators have come up with terms to describe the perpetrator – “exposer by proxy” and “hybrid exposer” – and Claus said police are taking the matter seriously, despite the smiles such cases generate.
The danger, according to Claus: Minor sexual deviant behavior can turn into something else.
“It starts as one thing and escalates into more dangerous-type behavior,” he said.
Claus said the case is similar to one from a few years ago in which a man was convicted of posting sexual images on the pedestrian bridge over Interstate 94.
In that case, the motivation was to find sexual partners, Claus said.
He said anyone who finds a suspicious photograph should leave it untouched and notify police.