updated 11/21/2008 8:26:34 PM ET 2008-11-22T01:26:34

Police have arrested a man suspected of leaving greasy, graphic imprints on the windows of stores, churches and schools in a small Nebraska town.

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A 35-year-old man was caught in the act by police early Wednesday morning, Cherry County Attorney Eric Scott said Friday. The man hasn't been charged yet, but authorities believe he is the vandal some townsfolk have dubbed the "Butt Bandit."

Beginning in spring of 2007, a mystery vandal visited businesses at night, pressing his naked behind — sometimes his groin, sometimes both — on windows. The marks were made with lotion or petroleum jelly, and while police had earlier worried copycat criminals were getting involved, Scott said they now believe it's "the act of a lone deviant."

"This isn't normal behavior for Valentine, Neb.," Scott said. "It's an embarrassment for the hardworking people who live here."

The man was spotted by police about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday and arrested without incident, Scott said. The suspect appears to be the same man caught on a surveillance camera at the middle school last year, he said.

Valentine, a town of about 2,650 in remote north-central Nebraska, lies near the scenic Niobrara River. The city was named one of the top "wilderness" towns in the country last year by National Geographic Adventure magazine.

People from around the country send Valentine's Day cards to the city's post office so they can be mailed out with the word "Valentine" stamped on them.

The past two summers, the bandit struck business after business, window after window.

He stopped over the fall and winter.

During one particularly brazen session, virtually all the windows at a local hotel were imprinted.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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