SANTA CRUZ, Calif.- Santa Cruz Police are dealing with two groping incidents in one week. There is a sketch of the latest suspect in the public parking lot near Cedar and Church Street. While the two incidents are not believed to be connected, Santa Cruz Police spoke with us on Thursday about the concerning reports and how to protect yourself.
"Very uncommon that I'd be by myself down here. But yeah, that definitely makes me think about it twice," said Dionnie Palm, who visits Santa Cruz from Ben Lomond.
21-year-old Dionnie Palm said knowing a young woman like her was groped in a downtown parking structure, freaks her out. Santa Cruz Police said on Tuesday a 23-year-old woman was leaning into her car in parking spot 3125 when the drunk suspect in the parking spot next to her, reached under her skirt.
"The behavior is inappropriate. We want all people to feel like they can come downtown and enjoy it. We want people to feel safe," said Deputy Chief Steve Clark, Santa Cruz PD.
This is the second groper case in one week. Police said on Friday, a different man grabbed a 12-year-old girl outside Santa Cruz High School. While the two cases and suspects are separate, police said females at any age need to keep their eyes peeled.
"Projecting that self-confidence and looking at people, looking into their eyes, face to face and letting them know that you know they're there," Clark said.
They also said you should know where you can go for help. In the parking structure, police said after groping the victim, he made inappropriate comments, then got into a friend's car and drove off. Police said one thing that would've helped them find the suspect, is if the person had paid with a debit or credit card, instead of using cash to pay for a parking pass. While police are still looking for the man, they're asking people to keep their guard up, just like Palm does.
"I usually just walk kind of fast actually and I do just kind of keep looking around to make sure there's nobody around I guess," Palm said.
Santa Cruz Police also have this information on the suspect:
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