Police last week were investigating a string of sexual assaults on women in Santa Monica parking garages.
In the latest incident, a 34-year-old woman was accosted and grabbed in a 4th Street parking structure Tuesday afternoon. It was the ninth such assault since March.
In each case, the women were grabbed, on the back side, breasts or crotch. All of the attacks have been brief and have occurred during daylight hours in and around the stairwells of the downtown garages. The women assaulted have ranged in age from 23 to 36 years old.
"It seems he gets gratification from the grabbing and the encounter," said Santa Monica Police Sgt. Gary Gallinot, adding that after each assault the suspect simply turns and walks off. "Maybe he's looking for a reaction," he said.
In Tuesday's incident, the assailant approached a woman in the stairwell of the parking structure and grabbed her crotch and behind. After the woman yelled at him, "What the hell are you doing?" the suspect leered at her before disappearing.
Though police believe the same man is responsible for all of the assaults, they have been unable to come up with a description because the victims have given conflicting accounts of his height, weight and age.
Gallinot said police have been hampered not only by this lack of a consistent description, but also by the fact that the suspect has assaulted his victims at different times of the day in "practically every downtown parking structure."
Said Gallinot: "Fortunately, they have been brief encounters, but we don't want the guy to become more violent."