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Emerson Man Identified As Marathon Masturbator

Arrow shows where witnesses said incident occurred.
Arrow shows where witnesses said incident occurred. Photo Credit: MAP: Courtesy Suez Water / INSET: Courtesy Sport-Memories.Org

EMERSON, N.J. -- A spectator in pajamas who witnesses said suddenly dropped his pants and began masturbating in front of dozens of marathon runners on an Emerson street was identified by police Monday as a 55-year-old borough man.

Thomas Pantuso was taken to Bergen County Regional Medical Center for an evaluation following the incident at Eagle and Elmwood drives, Capt. Michael McDermott said Monday morning, confirming a Daily Voice report from the night before.

Roughly 200 or so fundraising half marathoners had just turned up Eagle Drive when Pantuso suddenly dropped the bottoms of his flannel pajamas and began masturbating, witnesses said.

"He was standing on a corner in flannel pajamas with his shirt open and touching himself," one told Daily Voice. "Then he just dropped his pants."

Participants alerted police along the annual Reservoir Run route, and several calls also came in to headquarters, McDermott said.

An officer found Pantuso on the corner, where witnesses identified him, the captain said.Given the size of the half-marathon field, "there were several people who saw him," he said. "So there are several witness accounts."

Pantuso has priors -- including an arrest in Hackensack on resisting arrest and assaulting police charges in 1994, records show.

The half marathon -- a 13.1-mile scenic run through Westwood, Emerson and Oradell, with views of the Oradell Reservoir -- was sponsored by Suez Water and Tackle Kids Cancer of Hackensack University Medical Center.

It began and ended at HackensackUMC At Pascack Valley Hospital on Old Hook Road in Westwood.

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