'Jack The Gripper', Alleged Serial Hugger, Could Face Charges

When does a hug become a crime?

One alleged serial hugger nicknamed "Jack the Gripper" is accused of pretending to know women and tricking them into giving him a hug, according to ABC News.

Now Missouri prosecutors are trying to determine if the accusations made by 36 women against the 44-year-old man amount to a criminal offense.

"He'd say, 'Hi, remember me? I lived down the street in the corner house. How ya been?'" Des Peres, Mo., Detective Marshall Broughton said. "Obviously [the women] didn't remember him, but he did it so quickly and convincingly that they felt embarrassed that they didn't know him."

Broughton told the Riverfront Times that the suspect was identified after one of his victims took down his license plate and police looked at security tapes from a local supermarket where the alleged hugger had committed some of his questionable embraces. Broughton also said a victim out of Des Peres picked him out of a photo lineup.

Jezebel nicely sums up the ambiguities of serial-hugging.

"He's banking on the razor-thin line between being friendly and being harassed. Will it save him from prosecutors?"