Palo Alto police are looking for a man who allegedly followed and groped a 12-year-old girl while she was shopping with her mother at a Stanford Shopping Center food market on Sunday afternoon.
The girl was reportedly inside Sigona's Farmer's Market with her mother shortly after 2 p.m. when a man walked up behind them, police said. Surveillance footage showed the man twice brushing up against the girl's buttocks with the back of his hand while reaching for some items on a nearby shelf.
Shortly after this incident, the girl walked to a different aisle, away from her mother. The man reportedly followed her, then walked behind her and squeezed her buttocks over her clothing. The girl immediately told her mother what happened and they looked for the man but could not find him, police said.
The victim and her mother notified the police about the sexual battery at about 3:45 p.m. Police have released the surveillance image of the man, who was described as a white male in his 40s, about 6 feet 2 inches tall and with a heavy build. The man was reportedly wearing a long-sleeved maroon buttoned shirt with a plaid design, dark shorts with cargo pockets and dark sneakers.
Police said they have not encountered any similar incidents recently in Palo Alto. They are asking the public for help in identifying the suspect and are encouraging anyone who witnesses or experiences sexual battery to immediately call the police.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.