A 55-year-old man was arrested Monday after he inappropriately touched two young girls in separate incidents at two Portland stores, according to city police.
Officers responded to a Goodwill store on Northeast 122nd Avenue and a Safeway grocery store in the 6900 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard. Based on information collected from witnesses, police have identified Ricardo Sanchez-Garcia as a suspect in both cases.
According to court documents, police responded to the Safeway store Monday evening after an employee called 911 and reported that Sanchez-Garcia had grabbed a young girl before putting her down and running out of the store.
The court records reveal that the 10-year-old girl told officers a man asked for help near the wine aisle, picking her up so she could grab a bottle, and then touching her inappropriately.
Investigators reviewed surveillance video of the suspect, and found he looked identical to the suspect in a similar case just a couple hours earlier at a Goodwill store less than four miles from the Safeway.
A Goodwill employee told police a customer had approached her and reported that a man had molested a young girl in the toy aisle. The Goodwill employee says she reviewed store surveillance footage and saw the man following kids around the store in a "predatory fashion," and appeared to be masturbating, the documents state.
“We’re really grateful for that customer, who saw something that just didn’t look right,” said Goodwill spokeswoman Dale Emanuel. “The video is disturbing.”
Emanuel said the suspect should have never been inside the store because he was banned from all Goodwill locations in the spring.
“He had been trespassed in March for touching a child, he ran through an exit door it that case and we filed a police report and provided video,” Emanuel said, adding that the suspect from the March case looked identical to the man accused of touching a girl there Monday. “He made it in, we’re sorry to say, and we’re grateful to our shoppers."
Detectives with the Portland Police Bureau Family Service Division’s Child Abuse Team arrested Sanchez-Garcia at a residence in the 1900 block of Southwest River Drive.
Sanchez-Garcia was lodged at the Multnomah County Jail. He faces three charges of first-degree sex abuse. Further investigation indicates there may be additional victims, the bureau says.
Anyone who has additional information about Sanchez-Garcia or the investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Stephen Gandy at 503-823-0185 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goodwill urges parents to keep a close eye on their children when shopping anywhere.
“People who would victimize a child are looking for places where folks are distracted,” Emanuel said. “This seems like a very safe place, but we don’t know everyone who’s in it, so we just ask folks to keep their kids close. We do PA announcements, we remind folks to do so.”
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