LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) – Police fear a suspected serial groper’s assaults are growing more brazen following an incident inside an Alexandria store Thursday afternoon.
A 31-year-old woman says she was grabbed by a man at about 3 p.m. while shopping inside a HomeGoods store in the Kingstowne Center.
Despite an apparent change in modus operandi, Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell says detectives are confident the incident is connected to the series of assaults in the Springfield area.
The other assaults all have occurred outdoors while the women are alone. Police said this is the first such attack that took place indoors with other people nearby.
“There were several people in the store and outside the store who tried to assist, but the suspect was able to flee and he got away,” Caldwell said.
If confirmed, Thursday’s attack would be the 24th linked to the serial groper.
It is unclear whether cameras inside the store were able to capture the suspect’s image.
Police describe the suspect in Thursday’s attack as a Hispanic male, around 30 years of age, wearing a black jacket, light-colored pants and a black hat. The suspect’s description closely matches that of the man police believe is responsible for the previous incidents.