FULLERTON >> Police jailed a La Habra man Tuesday in connection with the sexual batteries of at least seven women in recent months near California State University, Fullerton, officials said.
Investigators arrested Jose Alfredo Gradilla-Cuevas, 21, when they caught him in the act of sexual battery after following him for several weeks, Fullerton police Sgt. Kathryn Hamel said in a written statement.
Gradilla-Cuevas was booked on suspicion of sexual battery and was being held in lieu of $500 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Thursday at the the Central Jail Court Branch of Orange County Superior Court, according to county booking records. His occupation was listed as “unemployed.”
Though they didn’t know his identity, investigators had been seeking the suspect since August, she said. “Detectives from the Fullerton Police Department, had been actively searching for a male suspect involved in at least seven reported incidents of sexual battery on females in the northeast area of Fullerton near California State University, Fullerton.”
The crimes took place between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., police said.
“In each case, the suspect approached the victims from behind and sexually battered them by grabbing private parts of the bodies,” Hamel said. The serial groper immediately fled after each incident, and none of the victims were injured.
Detectives identified Gradilla-Cuevas as a suspect after finding him driving a vehicle similar to one captured on surveillance video in one of the alleged attacks, Hamel said.
Detective then began tailing the suspect for several weeks, the sergeant said. Gradilla-Cuevas was seen stalking dozens of potential victims in Fullerton, Placentia and La Habra, Hamel said.
Detectives watched shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday as Gradilla-Cuevas parked his car and approached a lone woman walking on Nutwood Avenue, near Placentia Avenue, Hamel said.
“(Gradilla-Cuevas) then ran up behind the lone female victims and slapped her buttocks,” she said. The suspect fled, but was immediately detained and arrested.
Anyone with information, or anyone who has had a suspicious encounter with the suspect is asked to contact Detective Carin Wright at 714-738-6754.
PHOTO of Jose Alfredo Gradilla-Cuevas courtesy of the Fullerton Police Department.