Authorities are attempting to identify a man accused of attempting to rape a teenage girl on the sidewalk in Manhattan Beach after encountering her and her friends at a grocery store.
The man's attack was thwarted by one of girls, who fought him off her friend, the Manhattan Beach Police Department said in a statement.
The incident began last Friday, March 2, when the three teenage girls were visiting a Vons located at 410 Manhattan Beach Blvd. around 9:30 p.m.
The a man drove alongside the girls and called out to them, and when the teens looked over they noticed he was masturbating, said Sgt. Tim Zins.
The girls went inside the store, where they remained until they believed he would be gone, police said.
But on their walk home, when they were near the intersection of Second Place and Valley Drive, they did not notice the same car parked on Second Place, just west of Valley Drive. The intersection is about eight blocks south of grocery store.
Surveillance video shows a vehicle turn off its lights before the girls approach. Then, seconds after they walk by, a man is seen running their direction.
“He knew they were coming so he drove ahead of them and then pulled over and waited for them to come by, to attack them,” Zins said.
The man got out of his vehicle as the girls walked past, ran up behind them and pushed on of the girls to the ground, authorities said.
He tried to sexually assault the girl he shoved, but was fought off by one of her friends, who kicked and punched him until he released her, police said. The third girl was trying to flag down a car that was driving by.
All three of the teens ran from the area and called 911, while the suspect got into his car and fled south down Valley Drive.
Manhattan Beach police had received a second report of a man exposing his genitals in a car near the intersection of 35th Street and Flournoy Road around 9:50 p.m., with a matching suspect and vehicle description — including Uber stickers in front and rear windows.
“He’s definitely a sexual predator who we want to get off the streets as soon as possible,” Zins said.
Investigators are also working to determine if the incidents are related to a similar report of a man exposing himself in Redondo Beach on Feb. 13.
Officials describe the suspect as a thin Middle-Eastern or Asian man in his 20s with dark skin, wearing a red and black flannel shirt. He was driving a dark-colored, four-door sedan with an Uber sticker on the front passenger side window and an Uber sticker on the rear passenger side window.
Investigators are hoping to obtain home surveillance footage from homes in the area of Valley Drive, from the 1000 block to 100 block, as well as the 3300 block to 3500 block of Flournoy Road.
Anyone with information on the incident can contact Detective Aleina Smith at 310-802-5133 or the Manhattan Beach police tip line at 310-802-5171.