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Police release sketches of bathroom groper, peeper

 

Palo Alto police released Saturday a sketch of a man who allegedly groped another man using a urinal inside a Macy's restroom on Feb. 11 and another man who photographed a woman using a public restroom two days before.

The first incident, which occurred just before 10 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, on the "J" wing of the Cubberley Community Center, was the second such occurrence at the Middlfield Road facility in recent months. Last July, a different case was reported in the "A" wing of Cubberley. In both cases, the victims were women in their 20s. Police believe the suspect may have been the same person.

Police said the woman in the Monday night incident was walking on the breezeway toward the bathroom when she passed a man with a metal pushcart. She reportedly kept walking without exchanging any words with the man and entered the empty restroom. Minutes later, while in the bathroom stall, she reportedly saw a shadow. Police said she looked up and saw a man holding a cell phone over the dividing wall, apparently either taking a photo or a video of her. She yelled and the man ran out of the bathroom, police said.

Officers arrived at Cubberley with a police dog minutes after getting the call but could not find the suspect. Police did speak to a witness at the scene who reported seeing a man running out of the bathroom. The description matched that of the man whom the victim reportedly saw at the breezeway right before the crime. He was described as a man in his 20s, possibly either Hispanic or Asian, between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a "buzz" haircut and a thin mustache. He was described as wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a zipper and either black pants or long shorts.

Palo Alto police believe it is possible the same suspect is responsible for both the Monday crime and the one that took place in July. According to a police press release, officers are increasing patrols at the community center in response to the Monday night incident.

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, at noon the police department's 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a man reporting that he had been groped inside the department store restroom. Officers responded to the area, but were unable to locate the suspect, described as a Hispanic male in his 30s with a medium build. He was wearing a red sweatshirt and brown carpenter-style pants.

Investigators said the victim was standing at the urinal when the suspect entered the restroom. The suspect grabbed the man's butt over his clothing and then peeped over the urinal partition at the man's exposed penis. When the victim objected to the man's behavior, he left the restroom, police said. The suspect was last seen exiting the department store.

Anyone with information pertaining to the incidents are asked to call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.

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