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(photo by Smpd)

PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Police are asking for the public’s help in catching a man believed to be responsible for a series of sexual batteries that have taken place since January on the east end of the city.

Detectives with the Santa Monica Police Department issued a bulletin Wednesday that gave a description of the suspect. He is described as a Latino male in his 30s, 5 feet, 5 inches to 5 feet, 9 inches tall, with a medium to heavy build with straight black hair slicked back.

Police said the man rides alongside his victims on his bicycle, described as a mountain bike, and grabs or slaps an intimate part of their bodies. He never turns back to look at his victims, making it difficult for them to identify him.

The first incident occurred on Jan. 5 near the corner of Franklin Street and Santa Monica Boulevard. Since then there have been five additional reports of similar incidents. All have happened in close proximity to one another, and the description of the suspect is similar, police said.

Three of the incidents have taken place in the early morning hours, while the other three have occurred in the afternoon, said SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis.

The suspect’s clothing has varied with each incident.

Those with any information regarding the attacks are urged to contact detectives at (310) 458-8944 or the watch commander at (310) 458-8427.

Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call the WeTip hotline at (800) 78-CRIME (27463) or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. Tipsters can also contact Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS, texting from their mobile, or by visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org. Callers may remain anonymous and may be qualified to receive a $1,000 reward from Crime Stoppers.

A sexual battery is the act of making unwanted and sexually offensive contact with an intimate body part of another person or which case an immediate apprehension in the other person that such an act will occur. Intimate body parts include sex organs, the anus, the groin or buttocks of any person and the breasts of a female.

kevinh@smdp.com

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