BERKELEY -- Campus police at UC Berkeley are advising students to be cautious after a man posing as a safety escort tried to solicit sex from a female student he walked home last week.

The woman was unharmed, but police deemed the incident that took place Friday unsettling enough to put out the advisory, UC police Lt. Eric Tejada said. The man was posing as a volunteer for the Bearwalk Safety Escorts, a free service offered to help students returning to their homes near campus in the late-night and early morning hours.

"I've been here 23 years, and it's the first time I can recall anything like this with the escort service," Tejada said. "We want students to be alert and careful, but we want them to know the service is still safe."

According to police, a woman was at Shattuck and University avenues around 11:15 p.m. when she saw a man she thought was an escort. When he said he was, the two proceeded to the woman's residence.

Once at the home, the man asked if he could use the woman's bathroom, Tejada said. The woman obliged, but when the man emerged, he allegedly asked the woman to perform a sex act on him, Tejada said.

"At that point, she told him to get out, and he did," Tejada said. "So, that was fortunate."

Police described the man as about 6 feet tall, weighing about 200 pounds. He had long blond hair, styled in braids and also had a blond goatee, Tejada said. He was wearing a tan jacket with the word "Bear" on the lapel, and he was wearing sunglasses even though it was night, Tejada said.


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Legitimate Bearwalk escorts always have an identification card with a badge number issued by UC police. They wear yellow shirts and jackets that are either yellow or blue and all garments have "CSO" on the back and the CSO seal on the left breast. A UC Police Department patch can be seen on the upper arm.

The Bearwalk service is free to people living within a five-block radius of the campus, Tejada said. Students are trained by police as community service officers and act as escorts to men and women who are out after the sun goes down. The program also offers safety shuttle rides, as well as door-to-door shuttles from 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. each morning.

Information about the safety escort service is available at http://police.berkeley.edu/programsandservices/campus_safety/index.html.

Anyone with information about the safety escort impostor is urged to contact UC Berkeley police at 510-642-6760. Anonymous tips can be left at 510-664-8477.

Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.