Police look for suspect who grabbed females in Chandler Hobby Lobby store

CHANDLER, AZ - Chandler police are looking for the public's help identifying a man they say touched a store customer inappropriately.

According to a news release from Chandler police, on June 15 an adult female was shopping inside the Hobby Lobby near Chandler Fashion Center when an unknown male touched her inappropriately. When she confronted the suspect, he walked out of the store.

Police say a similar incident occurred on June 5 involving a juvenile which was never reported to police.

Surveillance video shows the suspect targets women in skirts, approaching them from behind, crouching down and grabbing the victims' legs above the knee. He continues until he is confronted by the victim in some way, police say.

Self-defense instructor Alex Santa Maria tells ABC15 that groping incidents may happen more than one might think.
 
"Some of these guys think they are not committing a crime like they can just brush it off like 'Oh my mistake," he said. Santa Maria said that women should be aware of not just who may be watching them, but of potential hiding places in malls, parking lots, or other public places that may offer an opportunity for someone to jump out and commit such an attack.
 
Chandler police Sgt. Seth Tyler said that the crime should be taken very seriously. He called it low-level sexual predator behavior that is brazen and can escalate very fast.

The male is described as 25 to 30 years of age, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall and approximately 170 pounds. The suspect is clean shaven with an athletic build.

In surveillance photos the suspect appears to be disguising his appearance with a baseball cap and sunglasses.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Chandler Police Department at 480-782-4130 and reference report number 12-062927

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