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Police ask for help identifying accused west end sexual assailant

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)–Henrico Police need your trying to identify a man in a Michael’s craft store surveillance tape, who’s accused of grabbing more than crafts.

A visit to the West End craft store on Saturday left a woman painting a picture of unwanted touching.

“We met a female who said she had been fondled by a male subject that she did not know in the store,” said Lt. Linda Toney.

Police distributed images of a man seen in surveillance photos. 

It’s hard to see clearly, but they say he was wearing gold chains over his bright orange shirt, which police are hoping is a palette easy to pick out in a photo line-up. 

“We are asking viewers to take a good look at the photograph, and if they recognize the man to call us,” said Toney. “So it doesn’t happen again.”

Shoppers in this area say they will now take more notice of their surroundings. 

 “Not something you’d think happen at a craft store in this part of town,” said Stephanie Paxton.  “But I guess you have to remember to be on your guard.”

Paxton said she didn’t want to second-guess the victim, but said if it had been she that was fondled, everyone would know.   

“I’d probably hit the guy and run or scream,” said Paxton.

That’s what police want you to do, minus the hitting part, of course.

“Call 9-1-1.  Draw attention to yourself,” said Toney.“If that means screaming, do so, and get a good look at the person to see if he has identifiable markings like scars or tattoos.”

Police also say get a description of the suspect’s car if you can safely, although they say in this case, he fled on foot.

If you recognize the man in that orange shirt, you’re asked to call Crimestoppers at 804-780-1000.

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