San Jose

SJPD Ramps Up Search for Man in Attacks on Woman, Girl

San Jose Police Department is ramping up its search for a man who this week attacked a 13-year-old girl after forcing himself inside her home. The man is also suspected of attempting to sexually assault a woman in a grocery store restroom last month.

Officers spent Thursday passing out fliers with the suspect's picture in the west San Jose neighborhood where the attacker was seen on surveillance video. Police have also stepped up patrols in the area.

Parents in the Cupertino Union School District received an e-mail Wednesday night from school officials, urging families be on alert for the suspect after Tuesday's attack.

Police said the suspect followed an eighth-grade student from school to her home on the 4000 block of Rio Vista Avenue.

Surveillance video shows the man starting a conversation with the teen girl at the front door of her home. When the girl opens the door to get away from him, surveillance video catches the suspect forcing himself inside the home.

Home surveillance video shows the suspect pushing up against the girl and cornering her against a wall before the victim was able to get away.

"I had to fight this guy and I'm thinking, 'Help me, help me please.' That was actually the only thing that was going through my mind," the teen girl said in an interview with NBC Bay Area on Wednesday.

The girl also said it appeared the man was recording the encounter on his phone.

The suspect left after the attack and fled before police arrived.

The girl said she took her phone and started texting her father and "running to the best hiding spot I could find." She also reported the suspect had a strong smell of either alcohol or cologne.

"I just really hope we can catch him," the teen said.

On April 2, the same suspect is believed to have followed a 28-year-old woman into a public restroom at Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese grocery store at 675 Saratoga Ave.

He attempted to sexually assault the woman in the restroom and fled before police arrived shortly before 1 p.m., police said.

"He had the confidence to do it once. He had the confidence to do it again. He's going to strike again," San Jose Police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said. "What we want to do is prevent that third attempt."

Police released surveillance photos of the man from both locations Wednesday.

He is described as a white man about 30 years old with a medium height, a thin build and a beard. When he followed the teen girl home from school, he was wearing a black beanie, a blue long-sleeved button-down shirt, light-colored cargo shorts and a dark messenger bag.

He may have been riding a light-blue 10-speed bicycle as well.

The suspect remains at large. Anyone with information about him has been asked to call San Jose police Detective Brandon Scholten at 408-277-4102. Anonymous tips can be left at the Crime Stoppers tip line at 408-947-7867.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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