A manhunt is underway for a male suspect who is accused of inappropriately touching a 9-year-old girl. NBC 7 San Diego reports that while the child was rummaging through the toy section at a Ross store, located at 3450 College Grove Mall on College Avenue in San Diego, California, with her younger sister, she was approached by an unknown man.
Police officials say that he then grabbed the girl, whose name has not been released to the public, on the buttocks before fleeing the store.
It was not immediately made clear where the child’s parents were during the time of the incident.
When the San Diego Police Department was made aware of what happened at the Ross Dress for Less store, the girl was questioned but it was reported that she was unable to give police a description of the assailant; however, the incident was captured on camera.
Police say the man was at the College Grove Mall between 5:58 p.m. and 6:40 p.m., wearing a dark-colored shirt, shorts, and a hat with an emblem stitched on the front.
He was also seen wearing white socks with white and black tennis shoes which apparently had a design on the side.
— #NBC7 San Diego (@nbcsandiego) December 22, 2017
The suspect is believed to be a Caucasian or a Hispanic male between mid-20s to 30s with an average build. Authorities say he was also seen visiting a nearby Target and a Kohl’s store before leaving College Grove Mall in a vehicle, which police officials believe to be a dark-colored sedan.
The San Diego Police Department are now turning to the public for help in identifying the man they believe inappropriately touched a child inside a Ross store. Two still images from the surveillance footage were released to the public on Friday.
If the suspect is captured, he will be facing a sexual battery charge for a lewd and lascivious act with a minor under the age of 14.
If anyone recognizes the assailant, the San Diego Police Department urges you to contact its Child Abuse Unit at (619) 531-2260 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
Officials say a reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information in the case.