Although no criminal charges have yet been filed, a man taken into custody Thursday is being described by police as a "person of interest" in a series of daytime sexual assaults against four women in Tower Grove South and possibly a fifth in Benton Park.
All five incidents, the most recent occurring on Wednesday, are believed to be linked to the same man. The attacks follow a similar pattern of a strange man approaching women and grabbing her genitals before fleeing.
Victims described the perpetrator as a white or maybe Middle Eastern man, aged between 25 years old and "middle age," and driving an older model silver or gray SUV.
In the wake of the attacks, police stepped up patrols in Tower Grove South
and asked residents to be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles parked in alleys. However, recent social media posts from Tower Grove South residents have identified a man believed to be the perpetrator. Investigators told the St. Louis Post Dispatch
that they had seen social media posts, but the newspaper noted that it is not clear whether the man identified in the social media posts is the same suspect taken into custody Thursday.
The perpetrator's first attack in Tower Grove South can be traced back to May 25, with the second occurring June 10 when a woman was similarly groped by an unknown man in Benton Park. On June 16, a man forcibly groped two women in Tower Grove South in the span of several hours. Another woman was attacked June 21.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com