A man sought for sexually battering a woman last week in Monrovia may be the same serial groper linked to two other similar attacks on women early last month in the city, officials said.
The most recent incident took place about 8 a.m. Friday at Huntington Drive and Canyon Boulevard, according to Monrovia police officials. A 23-year-old woman escaped without injury after being approached from behind and groped by an attacker.
“A lone male suspect approached the victim from behind,” police said in a written statement.
The attacker wrapped his right arm around the victims waist while grabbing her buttocks with his left hand, police said.
“The suspect said, ‘Hey baby,’ as assaulted the victim,” according to the police statement. “When the victim screamed for help, the suspect fled north on Canyon, out of view.”
Police alerted the public last month after two similar sexually batteries involving a strikingly similar suspect description were reported elsewhere in town April 1 and 2.
“There is a possibility this is the same suspect in our prior case,” Lt. Nells Ortlund said.
He noted that composite drawings of the suspects generated from the incidents in early April and late May bore a strong resemblance to each other.
In all three cases, the attacker was described as Latino, between 16 and 21 years old, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and of thin build, officials said.
In the first two crimes in April, the groper rode a skateboard, police said at the time. No skateboard was reported in connection with Friday’s attack.
The victim in the April 1 incident, a woman in her 30s, was also groped and had her buttocks grabbed by a young man about 9 p.m. as she walked in the 700 block of South Fifth Ave., officials said. In the April 2 assault, which took place about 4:50 p.m. in the 800 block of West Chestnut Avenue, a woman in her 30s or 40s was grabbed in a hug before the man grabbed her breasts, commented on her breast size, kicked her in the leg and fled.
Investigators have shown photographic line-ups to victims, but have not yet been able to positively identify a suspect, Ortlund said.
The crimes appear to be opportunistic in nature, Ortlund said, occurring at all different times of day, and the women attacked have all been walking alone
The lieutenant advised women to keep a cellphone with them when walking, and report any suspicious activity to police immediately. Clues such as clear description and direction of travel could be vital in helping officers make an arrest.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Monrovia police at (626) 256-80000.
COMPOSITE suspect sketches in May sexual battery (above) and April sexual batteris (below) courtesy of the Monrovia Police Department.