CRIME

Falls Church groper linked to six others in area

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Local officials believe a man going around groping women in the Springfield area has now hit Falls Church.

(Photo: Fairfax County Police)

On October 19 around 4:30 p.m., a woman was walking with a baby stroller near South Maple Ave. and Gibson St. Police say the man approached her from behind, grabbed her buttock area and wouldn’t let go until she screamed.

Michelle Bulla was shocked when she heard about the sexual assault. She and her son Dante always go for a walk during the day.

"I try not to get out too much at night, cause it's just me and my son," Bulla said. "Oh you gotta be kidding me, so it was still daylight?"

Police say the suspect is someone already on their radar. The suspect description in this latest attack matches one of the man wanted in connection with six groping incidents in the Springfield area.

The man is described as short and Hispanic. His hair is short, and he may now be clean-cut.

Falls Church Police Spokeswoman Susan Finarelli said, "This individual is escalating his attacks. He is very aggressive and very brazen, and he needs to be caught."

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this case, Sally Trainor of Falls Church says, is knowing it's not just nighttime when predators are on the prowl.

"I try not to walk alone by myself at night, but again it happened during the day...that's a little frightening," Trainor added.

Amber Webb takes a shortcut every day to get to her bus stop, but today was different.

“I was getting skiddish, looking all around the back waiting for someone to jump out,” she says. “That’s nuts.”

Women who live nearby are warning each other about the danger and not taking any chances.

Anyone with information should call police.

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