SAN MARCOS, Calif., (KGTV)-- The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public's help in identifying and capturing a serial groper. The man has been caught on surveillance video inappropriately touching multiple women at various North County stores.
On Christmas Eve, Racheal Medellin was doing some last-minute grocery shopping at Ralph's in San Marcos. Then, suddenly, she felt an unnatural bump.
"He came up behind me and pressed his body against mine, specifically his pelvic area," Medellin recalled.
With his hands up, the man told her it was an accidental bump. Medellin was shocked and confused.
"I could feel that it wasn't an accident, and I was really trying to decipher whether or not he was telling the truth or if he was a bad guy," Medellin said.
This was a story all too familiar for Becci Charlton.
"I just felt somebody grab my bottom," Charlton said.
Just two hours before the incident at Ralph's, Charlton was at Michael's in Vista, where she encountered the same man.
"He just put his hands up, and he says, 'Sorry sorry,' and he acted like it was an accident," Charlton said.
If you watch the surveillance footage of the Ralph's incident, you can see the man touching himself before the attack. He then turns, pauses, and thrusts himself. Charlton says she didn't report her incident until seeing that video circulating on social media.
"I recognized his outfit immediately," Charlton said.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is now investigating at least four incidents that occurred within the last two weeks.
• December 18th around 8:30 p.m. at the Target in the 1700 block of University Drive, Vista
• December 21st at CVS Store in the 300 block of South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos
• December 24th around 4:30 p.m. at the Michael's in the 1800 block of University Drive, Vista
• December 24th around 6:30 p.m. at the Ralph's in the 300 block of South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos
Now, neighboring agencies are also getting similar reports.
"In a lot of these cases, it took several days because I think people just believed that it was just an accident," Lt. Ricardo Lopez of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said. "And we all want to believe that people do not have bad intentions, but unfortunately, in this case, it definitely looks like that is the case."
A plea from law enforcement and the victims: If you see him, report him.
"Hindsight 2020, I would've done things differently," Charlton said. "But it's definitely a lesson. If this happens again, to scream and cause a scene."
"He's been making women feel like this for months, and he still out there," Medellin teared up. "We need to get this guy."
The suspect is described as a slender, Asian man between 20 to 30 years old, about 5 foot 8 inches, weighing 140 to 150 pounds. He was last seen in a baseball cap, hoodie, and shorts.
If you recognize the man, call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information that leads to a felony arrest.