Chula Vista groper strikes again: 16th attack - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Chula Vista groper strikes again: 16th attack

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CHULA VISTA (CNS/CBS8) - A man who is believed responsible for a five-month spree of groping assaults on women and teenage girls in Chula Vista struck again Wednesday, authorities said.

A woman made an emergency call about 10:45 a.m. to report that a stranger had grabbed her breasts as she walked on the east side of the 700 block of Broadway about 10 minutes earlier, police spokesman Bernard Gonzales said.

Following the assault, according to the victim, the man ran away to the west, disappearing into a row of businesses and apartment buildings. The woman described him as a thin, dark-haired, roughly 5-foot-2-inch Latino who appeared to be about 30. He was wearing blue jeans, a gray shirt and a gray baseball hat.

Lieutenant Eric Thunberg told CBS8, "He was carrying a clipboard, as if he maybe was taking a survey or was selling something." Instead, however, he said something sexually offensive to the woman.  She refused and according to Lt. Thunberg, "He immediately groped her breasts and she screamed. He took off running and went westbound into some apartments on the westside of Broadway."

The crime marked the 16th known groping incident in the same general area since September. In all cases, the victims have been walking on public streets when they were grabbed and fondled by a man who then bolted.  One of the women was bitten on her rear end over her clothing.  Lieutenant Thunberg told CBS8 they do have DNA evidence, adding, "Once we get the right individual we should be able to tie him to the cases, but it's a matter of finding him first."

Since many of them were unable to get a good look at the assailant, descriptions of him have varied. Due to the similarity of the crimes, however, police believe one man is responsible for all of them. Police say in most of the cases, the groper was wearing a hooded sweat shirt.

The women have ranged in age from 15 to 57, and many of the attacks have happened in the Broadway corridor, which is blocks away from Chula Vista High School.  "Our principal has told us that we should be alert walking to school and coming from our house to be always with a buddy," a 9th grader at the high school told CBS8. She said "I used to be on the ipod, but now my parents are like, get off the ipod, cell phone... look around, not just walk."

Police plan to hold a community meeting about the assaults at the Chula Vista High School Performing Arts Center on Thursday, February 17, from 6-7pm.

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