A woman was sexually assaulted while jogging through El Palo Alto Park at Palo Alto Avenue early Wednesday morning, Sept. 19, according to Palo Alto police.
A man came up behind the woman, bear-hugged her, grabbed her breast and possibly tried to pull her down in the process. The woman screamed and was able to free herself and the man immediately jogged away, police stated in a press release.
The woman didn't suffer any injuries and followed the man from a distance while using her cell phone to call the police. She last saw him running east on Hawthorne Avenue from Alma Street.
Police responded with a canine unit but were unable to find the man after a search of the area. She described the assailant as Middle Eastern or Hispanic, about 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build. She said he had thin black hair.
Police said the crime appears to have been committed by the same person who committed two similar assaults in the past month. On Aug. 20 a man grabbed a woman's buttocks in the 600 block of Fulton Street, and on Aug. 29 a man grabbed a woman's breast in the parking lot of Stanford Shopping Center.
"We are concerned about all of these events, but we are particularly concerned about this
one, as it appears as though the suspect's behavior may be escalating," Lt. Zach Perron stated in the release. "We're going to do everything we can to identify and apprehend him. We ask for the public's help with reporting suspicious behavior immediately to 9-1-1."
Police recommend joggers run in pairs or in small groups, run in well-traveled areas, not wear headphones over both ears and carry a cell phone with them.