One­hunga’s se­rial groper scared away

Central Leader - - LIFESTYLE & LEISURE - ELESHA EDMONDS

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.

SI­MON MAUDE/FAIRFAX NZ

Po­lice handed out fly­ers to peo­ple in One­hunga, warn­ing them about the at­tacker.

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