Alleged ‘serial groper’ assaults several victims from April through July

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A man is in jail for allegedly committing sexual battery in several incidents spanning from April through July – with police observing him acting suspiciously in the same area of the other incidents as recently as last week.

Several warrants were issued for an alleged “serial groper” who committed sexual battery from April through July in several incidents – all in the same neighborhood near the Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.

According to Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the multiple incidents were described with many similarities by different victims – all of whom were allegedly groped by a man who then got away in a silver Nissan Altima.

Knox County documents allege the man is Karley Winkle, 32, of Seymour.

(KCSO)

The most recent groping incident occurred on July 4 around 10:40 p.m. at 22nd Street near Laurel Avenue, where the victim was walking on 22nd Street when a man approached her while talking on his phone.

Once he walked past the victim, he suddenly turned around and grabbed her on her buttock and also put his hand up underneath her shirt. Then, he fled on foot while the victim and a witness chased him.

He then got into a silver Nissan Altima and drove away.

Upon reporting the incident to police, the description of the man, his actions and his car matched the same description as the “serial groper” who committed at least six other groping incidents with six different victims.

The other incidents also occurred in the same area:

  • On June 22, around 3 a.m. on 22nd Street between Highland & Laurel.
  • On May 18, around 1:30 a.m. on 22nd Street between Highland & Laurel.
  • On April 27, around 3 a.m. on 22nd Street between Highland & Laurel.
  • On April 26, around 1 a.m. on 22nd Street between Highland & Laurel.
  • On April 18, around 1 a.m. on 22nd Street between Highland & Laurel.

But as recently as last week, on July 19, police observed Winkle driving a silver Nissan Altima cruising around the same neighborhood in a suspicious manner.

Officers also observed Winkle park his car, get out and start walking behind women, as well as hiding behind fences and bushes.

All the women who walked near Winkle got into their homes before he could grope them, but officers did conduct a traffic stop on Winkle based on what they had observed in his suspicious behavior.

He was initially interviewed and his phone confiscated, but he eventually asked for his attorney.

Positive identification of Winkle came through a victim when shown a line-up plus a positive description of both his car and his phone. He was also positively identified by another victim in another case being investigated by police.

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