FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Fresno police said a serial groper who targets female shoppers is off the streets. He's accused most recently of grabbing a woman inside a Winco store this week. The suspect is only 17-years-old but officers said he's been targeting women for years.
The stores and parking lots in Northwest Fresno are buzzing with shoppers, but they are also hunting grounds for a serial groper who police said terrorized at least half a dozen victims so far.
"We are comfortable we have the right person, we just hope that we can get him some help too, again, avoid this thing from escalating," said Sgt. Daniel Macias, Fresno Police, Sexual Assault Unit.
Officers have been on an on-and-off hunt for the young man in a surveillance video. A 17-year-old accused most recently of forcibly grabbing and pressing himself against a woman inside a Winco supermarket.
Macias said the sexual assault unit is becoming too familiar with his MO.
"The method is the same, the pattern is the same, anytime if the victim cannot ID, the first person we think of is this 17-year-old juvenile."
Tuesday's arrest adds to an already extensive criminal history. So far this year, the suspect's been identified in three separate groping cases. Two are currently pending at the District Attorney's Office.
"This needs to be treated very seriously and dealt with very harshly," said Tony Capozzi, Legal Analyst.
Police said the behavior started back in 2014 when he was only 15. A judge convicted him then of sexual battery. He served no jail time but was sentenced to misdemeanor probation for a year.
Legal analysts say this time he should face a stiffer penalty.
"He's pretty close to being an adult and he should be treated as an adult if he's had a number of these incidents in his past. It's not working, something more has to be done," said Capozzi.
Officers said when they arrested the suspect, this time, he was very emotional and cried. He is currently being held in juvenile hall.