Wellington hairdressers are on the alert for a balding 'creepy' man stalking salons after he was caught surreptitiously touching himself during an appointment.
The man, aged in his 50s and living on the Kapiti Coast, was well known as a nuisance to salons around the region, with a long history of booking and cancelling appointments, not showing up, and leaving without paying.
Maureen Bowring, owner of Tawa's Haircraft, said she had trespassed him from her salon after he was caught pleasuring himself under a hairdressing cape last month.
'We saw the cape moving, and he was making noises, and he was quite hot and sweaty in the face.'
A young apprentice was traumatised and 'freaked out' by the behaviour, Bowring said. It was possible the man, who always wore a big coat, targeted salons because they typically employed and trained young women, she said. 'Whatever it is, it's something that we don't have to put up with, and it's not acceptable.'
The salon had lost money in the past when the man had booked and cancelled perm appointments, because perms required three sessions, Bowring said.
She forced the man to pay $50 before he left, and contacted police.
Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee, of Wellington district's crime squad, said the man had also been trespassed from a Hutt Valley salon.
A blanket trespass notice banning the man from all salons was not possible, but the man had been spoken to at length about his behaviour, McKee said.
The Wellington Hairdressing Association posted an urgent warning about the man on its Facebook page, encouraging salons to call police or trespass the man to keep their staff safe.
Another hairdresser, Amanda Po, told The Dominion Post the man used to come into the Johnsonville salon where she worked five years ago. He never performed lewd acts, but was a nuisance and always booked a perm, despite having hardly any hair, she said.
The Dominion Post contacted a man matching the pest's description in Paraparaumu, but he denied knowledge of the situation.
Wellington Hairdressing Association regional president Cathy Davys said all male customers would suffer because of the man's behaviour. 'Everyone's wary of men coming in, which isn't fair.'
It was not completely certain what the man had been doing while in the chair, she said.
'We don't know unless we take the cape off. He could have been winding his watch.'
- The Dominion Post
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