Three University of Arizona students – all women – were groped, followed and nearly abducted over the last week within a mile of each other, Tucson police said.
Law enforcement officers are searching for the suspect, who is described as a heavy-set Hispanic man with a dark complexion with buzz-cut hair, between 5-feet, 10-inches to 6-feet tall. He was last seen wearing an orange shirt and jeans.
The most recent attack happened late Monday night, when a man grabbed a woman around her waist and fondled her over her clothes, Tuscon Assistant Police Chief Christopher Dennison said during a Wednesday press conference.
“At some point, a male suspect parked the vehicle, got out and grabbed her from behind,” Dennison said. “The victim, while being physically restrained, dropped to the ground and started screaming. The suspect released the victim and ran to his vehicle before driving away.”
Before Monday night’s scary run-in with a potential serial predator, two other women reported similar a M.O.
They told police they were followed by a man driving a purple or dark-blue car – possibly an early 2000s Toyota Camry or Corolla – with a dented front bumper, tinted windows and an Arizona license plate that is either faded or flaking off.
On Dec. 6 and 7, two different female students said a man got out of his car and grabbed them from behind, but he took off when they screamed, police said.
All three incidents happened within a mile radius near the University of Arizona campus. None of the victims were physically harmed, according to police.
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Denninson said the suspect’s description and circumstances of the Dec. 11 attempted abduction “were similar” to the previous two, which prompted university officials to bolster security around campus.
“UAPD is enhancing its patrol capabilities to provide a higher level of visibility and engagement,” University of Arizona Police Department Police Chief Chris Olson said. “UAPD will utilize police officers, safety aides and student community service officers to accomplish this.”
Denninson urged members of the public to “stay vigilant” and report suspicious activity to police or call 911.
The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, University of Arizona Police Department and Oro Valley Police Department are assisting in the investigation, he said.