CRIME

Springfield groper may have struck 22nd time

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There are new concerns for a Fairfax County community with word the man known as the Springfield groper may be attacking women again.

Fairfax County police are investigating a Tuesday night assault in Franconia as what may be the 22nd attack in a string of serial gropings in the area.

The latest groping incident happened in a townhome community called Springfield Square.

Police say a 32-year-old woman was putting luggage in her vehicle in the 6400 block of Franconia Court Tuesday around 7 p.m. when a man grabbed her from behind.When she turned around, investigators say, the man ran away.

If connected, this would be the 22nd such assault in this string of incidents. (See the locations of other assaults below.)

"It is very frustrating," said Springfield Square resident Betty O'Loughlin.

She says it's hard to believe the so-called Springfield groper keeps getting away with this again and again.

"We just need to report everything, and maybe they can pick this person up," O'Loughlin added.

Police describe the suspect in this case as a white male, around 5 feet 10 inches tall and 20 to 30 years old.

This description, however, is different than previous descriptions of the suspect. In each earlier case, the suspect has been described as a Hispanic man standing 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Police will hold a community meeting at Crestwood Elementary School on Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m. to discuss the groping incidents. The school is located at 6010 Hanover Street in Springfield.

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