North Charleston police are searching for a man believed to have targeted women in three separate sexual assaults reported at grocery stores on Rivers Avenue and Dorchester Road in recent weeks.
Police spokesman Spencer Pryor said authorities have not yet identified a suspect but that similarities in the cases led authorities to believe that one man is responsible for three incidents between Aug. 25 and Sunday.
The latest assault occurred at the Food Lion store at 7500 Dorchester Road, according to the incident report.
A 19-year-old woman told police that she first noticed a man following her while she shopped at the store around 8:30 p.m.
The woman saw the man walk out of the store when she approached a register to check out, police said. The man then grabbed her from behind in the parking lot as she walked toward her vehicle, the report states.
The man wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her backwards, the woman reported. She managed to fight off her attacker, who fled the scene on a medium-size bicycle with pegs on its front and back tires.
Police said several of the store’s employees recognized the suspect as a man who frequently hangs out in front of the store. The employees, however, didn’t know his name, according to the report.
Police previously responded to the store concerning a similar assault on Aug. 25.
A 24-year-old woman called authorities to report that a man grabbed her from behind and rubbed against her while groping her about 4:30 p.m. in the store’s parking lot. Another woman at the scene reported that the man first went after her, but he diverted his sights after noticing that she had a child with her, the report states.
On Sept. 1, police responded to the Wal-Mart store at 7400 Rivers Ave. when another woman reported that she was attacked in the parking lot around 11 p.m.
The 23-year-old woman told police her attacker first followed her throughout the store before he made his move.
Police said the man pushed the woman against her car, lifted her dress and rubbed against her. A man who was sitting in a nearby truck chased the suspect off, the report states.
Investigators are studying surveillance video for clues to the man’s identity.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.