Grocery worker held as suspect in sex attacks

first_imgVAN NUYS – Police have arrested a 32-year-old grocery store worker they believe is responsible for at least three sexual attacks in the San Fernando Valley, including a rape in June in Van Nuys. Fernando Lopez Garcia was arrested about 11:40 a.m. Tuesday at the Beverly Glen Marketplace in the 2900 block of Beverly Glen Circle, where he worked, Los Angeles police Detective John Eum said. He is being held on a rape charge at the Los Angeles County Jail with bail set at $300,000. Lopez Garcia was pulled over for a traffic stop July 18 near Sherman Way and Sepulveda Boulevard, Eum said. At the time, police were looking for a man who raped a woman inside an elevator June 10 in Van Nuys. When detectives this week got word that his DNA matched that found in the June 10 sexual assault, police rearrested him. In that case, a woman told police she was raped by a man with a ponytail in an elevator near Sepulveda Boulevard and Valerio Street, police said. Detectives also believe the ponytailed suspect came up behind another woman and grabbed her in a sexual manner about 9 p.m. June 22 in the 6600 block of Sylmar Avenue. Twenty-five minutes later, what appeared to be the same man groped a woman near her apartment in the 6800 block of Bevis Avenue. She screamed and the man fled. [email protected] (818) 713-3635 For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Lopez Garcia matched the description – a Latino, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 2 to 5 feet 5 with a medium build, a ponytail, brown eyes and a smooth complexion. Lopez Garcia is 5 feet 5 and weighs 135 pounds. They believe he cut his hair to conceal his identity, Eum said. Officers brought him in for questioning but didn’t have enough evidence to hold him. “We were unable to positively identify him at that time through photo lineups,” he said. “We did interview him again, and he again denied any involvement in any of the sexual assaults.” The suspect was arrested Sept. 17 on a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure in the 14800 block of Vanowen. The victim ran out into the street and flagged down the police, who arrested Lopez Garcia, Eum said. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge and was released from jail. But police took a sample of his DNA. last_img read more