DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police on Wednesday revealed the identity of a suspect who is thought to have groped at least seven women.
Denver police say they arrested Juan Hernandez-Vargas, 26, on Tuesday in a spot where a woman had reported an earlier assault. Detectives have not released his mug shot because they are still conducting suspect lineups for the investigation.
Some DU students said his arrest makes them feel a little more secure but they will continue to take precautions.
“No one really walks alone. If we do walk alone we always make sure someone is awake to let us into the house,” said DU student Alley Haberman.
“It makes me feel better but I’m still going to be cautious. We live on a campus and other situations but I’m glad he’s caught,” said DU student Jillian Korach.
The arrest followed an extensive surveillance operation in several areas where the assaults happened, including alleys near the University of Denver. The suspect allegedly groped a teenager in one such alley.
“Our major concern was that because this individual had had some success with the groping that it could graduate to much more serious crimes such as a sexual assault and things of that nature. So that’s why we wanted to get the word out. That’s why we wanted to get assistance, and we’re lucky that this individual is off the streets and in custody,” Denver police spokesman Det. John White said.
White said victims and witnesses reported the crimes to authorities quickly and that helped them in their investigation.
A girl told CBS4 her brother saw one of the gropings at DU.
“The guy came out of his car and grabbed her butt,” she said. “She somehow got away and he jumped in his car and drove away.”
Hernandez-Vargas has a prior arrest record for assault, obstructing police and disturbing the peace.