Alcoa police search for women groped at restaurant

Alcoa police search for women groped at restaurant

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Alcoa Police say a customer took this picture of the man allegedly groping women at Panera there. Alcoa Police say a customer took this picture of the man allegedly groping women at Panera there.

ALCOA (WATE) – Alcoa police are working on arresting a man they believe groped several women, including a teenage girl, at a Panera Bread restaurant.

Police said they were alerted after the parents of a 16-year-old called them on Friday.

A customer at Panera managed to snap a picture of him. Police believe they have identified the suspect. The victims say they were all approached at the same Panera.

"When he initially sat down beside her, he started making small talk. He was trying to initiate a conversation. It led to him asking her if she had a boyfriend," explained Det. Kris Sanders with Alcoa PD, about the report from the teen. "He places his hand on her thigh and he's talking to her as he moves his hand up her thigh. He was initiating contact in a sexual manner."

Investigators posted a picture of the suspect on their Facebook page, which is how they were contacted by more potential victims. Some cases go back a few months.

"Well, I will say I looked around when I got here," said customer Michelle Potts, about how the reports have made her more aware of her surroundings.

Detectives say that while they've identified their groper, they still need to hear from more victims to build their case.

"We want to get him off the streets because this behavior is unacceptable," Det. Sanders said.

Once they've sent information from potential victims to the DA's office, they hope to charge their suspect.

If you've been approached by the man in the photo, call Alcoa police at 865-983-3620.

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