Missouri authorities are trying to decide whether they are legally allowed to press assault charges on a man described as a serial hugger.
Although the man's real name hasn't been released, a St. Louis weekly newspaper has dubbed the grabby perpetrator Jack The Gripper as well as John Wayne Embracey.
Jack the Gripper was arrested this week for approaching random women and hugging them.
Jack reportedly approached different women and said things like, Remember me? From down the street? or I live in the house on the corner, and while each tried to remember who he was, he'd wrap his arms around her for a hug. Although police are certainly relieved they don't have a rapist or a murderer on their hands, one victim did report being forcibly kissed on the lips.
One woman said John Wayne Embracey -- whoever coined these serial-killer puns should be given a raise, by the way -- embarrassed her into hugging him by telling her it was his birthday. The Riverfront Times said the man doesn't try to sexually assault the women -- he just hugs them almost like a grandmother might.
According to the Warson Woods Police Department's Facebook page, formal charges of third-degree assault are pending against the weirdo. He began doing it in supermarkets, but then spread the practice to malls and other places in the suburbs just outside St. Louis.
The 44-year-old man was tracked down after one of the women he hugged wrote down his license-plate number, which police were able to corroborate with security tape from grocery stores he visited.
Aside from giving a bad name to any supermarket creep who wants a hug, this situation raises some interesting questions. For example: Who would want to be hugged by a random guy while they're out shopping?
Single men who use a portion of their supermarket time to hit on women are also victims of this fellow. After striking up conversations in the cereal aisle and trading phone numbers, they have long considered quick hugs as signs of greater things to come. No more is that the case!