A search is underway for a man accused of masturbating as he watched pornography while riding a Columbia city bus, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.
The sheriff’s department said it is searching for a suspect wanted on an indecent exposure charge for his actions on a COMET bus on July 23.
The bus driver said the man was watching porn on his cell phone and masturbating while riding the bus, the sheriff’s department said in a news release.
The driver asked the man to stop, but his request fell on deaf ears and was refused, according to the news release.
Eventually the man got off the bus and ran into nearby woods, and emerged when he was picked up by the driver of a black SUV, the sheriff’s department said.
This is not the first time this man has been accused of exposing himself on the bus, as the sheriff’s department said there are multiple reports of similar incidents involving the suspect.
Although the sheriff’s department does not know the suspect’s identity, it said he typically rides the bus at night on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, on a route that takes him from the Walmart Supercenter on Forest Drive to Percival Road near Quail Run.
In addition to criminal charges, the suspect will also be banned from riding COMET buses, or being at any of its bus stops or transit centers, according to the news release.
“The safety and protection of our riders and our drivers is always our highest priority and we will maintain zero tolerance for improper behavior,” COMET Executive Director and CEO John Andoh said in the news release.
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