Desert Hot Springs Police, FBI Search for Serial Groper
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
DESERT HOT SPRINGS -- Desert Hot Springs police put a barricade up on Hacienda Avenue and Eliseo Road on Tuesday night.
They are trying to find a man who has been groping women-- they hope the community has answers.
Police say a man has been assaulting women for over a year now.
Over 17 cases have been reported, and there may be many more.
So now Desert Hot Springs police, the FBI, the SAFE task force, and other agencies are working to catch the predator.
Police are working hard to catch a man in Desert Hot Springs who has been groping women at night, then running off.
A mother we spoke to says her daughter and her friend were attacked.
"A guy attacked them, about three streets up from Eliseo here. They fought him off, there are two of them, and they are big girls, they were able to fight him off," said Valerie Diss, a Desert Hot Springs resident.
Police say the man attacks women at night, often near Hacienda Avenue.
He approaches them from behind, gropes them and then walks off.
"'Ive heard that there's been one up and down this street, I've heard theres been one down on Dillon, its just kind of scary to know that it's going on so frequently," said Desert Hot Springs resident, Eric Phaneuf.
Seventeen women said they were attacked, and there may be more.
"There are a couple who have fought back, and he's fled, immediately, there have been no major injuries to our victims, we don't know that he's incurred any major injuries," said Commander Kate Singer with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department.
Police set up the blockade to let the community know about the serial groper, and search for leads.
The attacks began as early as December 2010.
"So we're going on well over a year, and it took several months for us to finally get a pattern or an idea that this was a serial in our version groper," said Commander Singer.
He is described as between 20 to 30 years old, white or hispanic, and usually wears a hoodie with a bandanna or beanie.
The news of the serial groper is terrifying to neighbors.
"Makes me not want to go outside, its creepy outside," said Brenda Kendall of Desert Hot Springs.
"Usually I have someone with me but I'm kind of scared now going out by myself and thinking there's somebody who's just going to come up and grab you," said Desert Hot Springs resident, Ileana DeLeon.
Now over 25 officers are at the blockade, on atv's, in chase cars -- trying to catch the serial groper.
"I hope he gets caught because I know there's more victims out there, and this is a sick individual," said Diss.
There is a community meeting Thursday, March 29th at 6pm at Julius Corsini Elementary School at 68750 Hacienda Drive in Desert Hot Springs.