2. Update, May 29, 12:30 p.m., ET: The Boston Police Department told BuzzFeed they cannot confirm any of the facts in the original “tickler” story, and have no reports on file regarding it.
“We are working with Boston.com to correct the inaccuracies in the report,” spokesman Sgt. Michael McCarthy said on the story, which was written by students. “We are not sure where the student reporter got that information.”
He added, “The quotes given by Sgt. O’Hara were given in response to questions unrelated to tickler incidents. They were printed out of context by the reporter.”
Boston.com reported that a man has been breaking into students’ homes near Boston College and tickling their feet in the middle of the night, and quoted police and several alleged victims.
Long believed to be a myth, the Boston Tickler has struck at least 10 times around Chestnut Hill, Mass., with three students claiming to have an encounter with him on April 7 alone, according the the Boston.com report.
“This is no myth,” Sgt. Michael O’Hara told the news site. “It’s happening.”
Boston College students have reported seeing the Tickler over the last two years, describing him as a 5-foot-8-inch black male in dark clothing and a hoodie, police said. Some reported seeing the man watching them through their windows while he “committed a sex act.”
Boston College junior Daniel Marenzi said he had an October encounter with the stealthy tickle fiend, who seems to have no interest in stealing from his victims.
“I thought my friend was just trying to annoy me, but I soon realized it wasn’t anyone I knew,” Marenzi was quoted as saying. “I freaked out and sat up but he was already on the way out.”
One cause for worry is that many students in the quiet neighborhood leave their doors unlocked, Sgt. O’Hara said.
“Absolutely students should be concerned,” he said. “You don’t know what this guy is going to do or if he has a weapon. You need to lock your doors. It’s not as safe as you think.”