LA police seek info on San Fernando Valley sexual assault suspect

Los Angeles police today sought information about a young man suspected of trying to sexually assault young women in the western San Fernando Valley since March 2009.

Jose Perez, 23, was arrested April 28 in connection with five crimes over the past 13 months, including two attacks last week, police said.

According to police:

The first crime in which Perez is suspected occurred March 19, 2009. A 15-year-old girl reported being abducted from behind a Sherman Oaks school where she was a student.

The girl was dragged into the bushes, but she fought back as the man groped her, and he eventually fled.

On May 8, 2009, a 15-year-old girl reported being grabbed from behind outside her apartment building. Both fell to the ground, and the suspect fled in a silver four-door Volkswagen.

On Nov. 11, 2009, a 13-year-old girl reported being grabbed by a man who got out of a white GMC Yukon. But she also fought off the man, and he fled in the SUV.

Perez is suspected in at least two other similar crimes in April.

On April 26, a 13-year-old girl was in front of a Van Nuys school when a man drove up in a gray Volkswagen Jetta, got out and started asking her questions. He then fondled the girl, who pushed him away. The girl jotted down the license number as he drove away.

Two days later, an 18-year-old woman was walking home when she noticed a white SUV rolling alongside her. The driver pulled over, got out, grabbed her from behind and hustled her into the vehicle.

But the young woman's uncle, who happened to be nearby, heard the commotion and ran off the man, while the woman got out of the vehicle, which was last seen headed north on Lindley Avenue.

The license plate on the SUV in that case also pointed to Perez.

Detectives believe other possible victims may not have reported similar encounters and urged them to come forward. Anyone with more information was asked to call Lt. Edward Pape or Detective John Doerbecker at (818) 374-7730.

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