Man arrested at library faces charges of indecency, theft

Amy Hamblin

A 21-year-old man arrested Monday at University Library told police he goes to there to get sexually aroused by female students, University Police said.

Gregory Gentles, 21, is charged with three counts of theft, two counts of trespassing and two counts of public indecency, one of which is a felony because Gentles has previously been convicted of public indecency. The crimes all occurred in the library, beginning March 19, said Asst. Chief Daniel McAleer of University Police. Police also are investigating $1,200 in unauthorized purchases made with a credit card Gentles admitted to stealing.

Police arrested him twice in January on charges that he masturbated in two Evanston bookstores. He was arrested in February on charges he showed his genitals to three women in the Evanston Public Library.

At the time he gave police an Evanston address, but on Monday said he lived in Mount Prospect, Ill., McAleer said.

UP arrested Gentles at about 2 p.m. Monday on a trespassing charge, after a female Weinberg senior told police a man stood 2 feet behind her in the library’s first-floor reference area pretending to speak on his cell phone, but muttering “sexy feet” between sentences.

She told The Daily she immediately recalled that her roommate had told her that on May 6 a man was masturbating near her on the fifth floor of the library and chanting “sexy feet.” The roommate, a Medill senior, told The Daily she was sitting barefoot at the time. She said did not report the incident to police. Both students refused to have their names printed.

“After about 10 minutes (of hearing the man mutter), I realized I wasn’t playing games with myself,” the Weinberg senior said.

Although she didn’t see the man masturbating, she said she wouldn’t rule out the possibility because she heard heavy breathing and an unzipping sound coming from the direction of the man. Gentles told police he was not masturbating at the time, but admitted to doing so at the library on other occasions, McAleer said.

After exiting the library, the Weinberg senior called UP. She was searching the library with police when she spotted the suspect, whom police identified as Gentles, leaving the Core Collection on the second floor.

Her roommate later identified Gentles in a photo line-up, McAleer said.

Gentles also is accused of stealing three students’ wallets from the library on separate dates, McAleer said. One of the wallets contained $100 in cash and two credit cards. Gentles told police he stole the wallets, but never used the credit cards. UP found a receipt for a purchase on a student’s credit card in Gentles’ car, McAleer said.

The Weinberg senior said she found the incident bizarre because it happened in the busy, open reference area.

“It would have been a different story if I had been in a secluded tower. That would have been a lot creepier,” she said.

Evanston Police Department is holding Gentles.

Reach Amy Hamblin at [email protected]