Onehunga’s serial groper scared away
Auckland police say a serial groper they have been searching for since October last year may have been scared off.
A youth was believed to have been responsible for about 12 indecent assaults on women walking and running in Onehunga over the course of six months.
The last reported assault was on Easter Monday and the investigation has since been put on hold, police said.
Constable Don Allan said a dozen boys were interviewed during inquires into the assaults.
Since then the assaults have stopped, Allan said.
‘‘It is likely one of the boys was the offender or knew of the offender, this likely made them stop their actions,’’ he said.
‘‘The other option is he has left the area.’’
In April, police appealed to the public for help to identify a teen believed to have been responsible.
The offender was described as a young Maori or Pacific Island teenager, between 12 to 16 years old and of a thin to slim build.
The incidents occurred on Arthur St, Mariri St, Rockfield Rd, Fergusson Domain Selwyn St, Rawhiti Rd and State Ave.
Detectives spoke to several suspects and the issue was also aired on television show Police 10/7.
Onehunga’s business association went as far as holding self defence classes for local women to help prevent further attacks.
More than 120 women attended the classes and learnt how to defend themselves from attacks.
Allan said they received a number of calls from the public, including parents concerned their sons were responsible, but police could not pin down the offender.
Despite the investigation being inactive, Allan said he was concerned the offender did not receive the help he needed.
He said the teen may continue to offend in other areas.
‘‘There is someone out there who has a tendency to grab someone’s backsides so there is a real need to identify him,’’ Allan said.
Allan said it’s vital to call 111 immediately when attacks occur so a ‘‘police tracker dog can be used to locate this person if we are called in a timely manner’’.
Information regarding the assaults or offender can also be forwarded to Detective Constable Pat Whitiora on 021 192 1053.
Alternatively call 0800 555 111 to report anonymously to Crimestoppers.
Police handed out flyers to people in Onehunga, warning them about the attacker.