Springfield police now say a total of nine women have had the unnerving experience of being grabbed from behind by the same man.
A 42-year-old woman who was grabbed from behind while in front of her home on Hibbling Avenue last Thursday afternoon had no idea it was part of a strange series of crimes that has resulted in an intensive search for the man, police said.
The Hibbling Avenue assault was actually the second crime by the same man in a 30-minute period that day.
A half-hour earlier, at 4 p.m., a woman walking in the 7200 block of Commerce Street, less than a half-mile away, was also groped from behind.
Nine assaults have been reported in a small section of Springfield dating to September. The victims range in age from 42 to 15 years old.
Diana Wheeler said it's changed the way people live in the long-established neighborhood of 1950s ranch-style homes. "When I go to visit my friend, she walks me back up the street."
The victims said the suspect is Hispanic, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 and he often wears a red baseball cap.