CRIME

Springfield serial groper strikes again, police say

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The Springfield groper has struck again, police say. They're investigating a ninth fondling incident in the Springfield area.

A 42-year-old woman tells police she was grabbed from behind in front of a home in the 6000 block of Hibbling Avenue Thursday around 4:30 p.m. She described the suspect to be Hispanic with a medium build and short black hair.

Another fondling incident was also reported Thursday in the 7200 block of Commerce Street around 4 p.m. Police say the victim, a 23-year-old woman, was standing at a bus stop when the suspect groped her.

The victim, who was uninjured, was able to flee. She described the suspect as a thin, shirt and Hispanic man with a short beard. Fairfax County Police say that her description fits the same suspect profile as the previous assaults.

Detectives in Fairfax County have been on the tail of the suspected serial groper for the better part of two months, with reports coming in since early September. After publicizing a report of a sixth linked assault that occurred between Sept. 9 and 13, officials released a sketch of a suspect in the cases.

Officials have canvassed the areas where the serial groper has struck to glean any information they can and to make residents aware of the situation.

A relative of Thursday's first victim spoke to ABC7.

“She is very scared,” says Zulma Morales. “Very scared.”

Morales says her cousin is now afraid to walk along in her neighborhood near busy Springfield Plaza after what happened by this heavily-used bus stop.

“She said ‘I screamed and nobody heard me. I’m screaming and nobody heard me. Nobody came to help me.’”

“The women are scared and so they’ve been saying that there needs to be more police and security patrolling the area so it doesn’t happen again,” says Kenya Hecheverria, a Springfield resident.

Through an interpreter, Hecheverria talked with ABC7 about the concerns of women in the community.

“Everybody is talking about it because all the women are scared. They could be the next one,” she says.

A source close to the investigation tells ABC7 the suspect is brazen, attacking at all times of the day and night. The think he lives or works in the area and may use public transportation to get around. Investigators are confident they will catch him.

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