CRIME

Springfield groper records 23rd assault since November

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The Springfield groper may have struck for the 23rd time, Fairfax County Police say.

On most occasions, the groper has been described as a Hispanic man in his 20s. Photo: Fairfax County Police

This most recent assault happened at about 3 p.m. Thursday in the area of Bauer Road and Old Keene Mill Road, officials say. Police say the 26-year-old female victim was walking on Bauer Road when a man grabbed her from behind, then fled.

The suspect's description lines up with that of many previous linked assault. He's described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s who stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall. During Thursday's assault, the suspect was wearing a navy blue shirt, khaki pants and a dark baseball cap.

It's the third such assault in this series of gropings to happen in this area. On Feb. 6, the groper allegedly assaulted a woman in the 6600 block of Grey Fox Drive, and in December, he struck a few blocks away on Blarney Stone Drive near Omega Court.

The map below shows the locations of all 23 assaults since November. This most recent assault appears as a green marker.

If this incident is linked to the 22 previous gropings, it would have come hours before county officials held a community meeting in Springfield about the crimes. A standing-room-only crowd packed into Crestwood Elementary School and heard police officials express their frustration about not being able to catch the suspect.

"I'm very frustrated, and so are the officers at the station, that he's able to get away," Fairfax County Police Capt. Jim Baumstark said Thursday.

Assault #22 happened Tuesday night, when a man inappropriately touched a woman in the 6400 block of Franconia Court.

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