Police ID Suspect in Bridgeport Teen Groping Cases - NBC Connecticut

Police ID Suspect in Bridgeport Teen Groping Cases

"There is another gray car just like this one ... going around the East Side doing stuff like that," he told police.



    Police ID Suspect in Bridgeport Teen Groping Cases
    Bridgeport Police

    Bridgeport detectives have an arrest warrant charging a man with approaching and groping two high school students.

    Police said Detectives Martin Heanue and Jorge Cintron secured a warrant on Thursday charging Harry Rodriguez, 40, of Bridgeport, with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, unlawful restraint and two counts each of risk of injury to a minor and breach of peace.

    He is in jail on unrelated charges.

    Police said they obtained a warrant after investigating six incidents in March where a man approached females, improperly touched them and then ran off, police said.

    Rodriguez has been charged in connection with two of those incidents and police continue to investigate.

    From the descriptions victims in all six cases gave police, authorities said they think the same person is responsible for all.

    “This case was a priority and Detectives Heanue and Cintron did an outstanding job in linking Rodriguez to two of the incidents,” Capt. James Viadero, the head of the detective division, said in a statement. “The suspect showed no signs of stopping. Only when police locked him up did the incidents stop.”

    The victims ranged in age from their early to late teens. The first incident happened on March 20 near Harding High School when a man grabbed at an 18-year-old, who ran away and fled in a grayish-colored Buick, police said.

    Rodriguez also was charged with a March 27 incident in which a 14-year-old was accosted on East Main Street at Arctic Street while she waited for a bus. She provided a similar description.

    Detectives checked for any video that might help identify a suspect or vehicle and Heanue located video from multiple locations from the morning of March 27 that showed a gray Buick in the immediate area of East Main and Arctic before and after the incident. 

    That video also showed a man matching the description of the assailant walking in the area and running away a few minutes later, police said.

    On March 31, Lt. Paul Greco located a silver Buick parked on Maple Street near Hallet Street. It matched the description of the car believed to be used, except that it had tinted windows.

    When detectives went to the home at which the car was registered, they spoke with Rodriguez, who said he had the windows tinted a few days before, police said.

    Later in the conversation, he stated “if this is about the kids being touched at the bus stops there is another gray car just like this one with tinted windows going around the East Side doing stuff like that,” according to a news release from police.

    Later, police showed photographs of the car, taken just before and after the March 27 incident, to Rodriguez’s wife and she identified the car as hers and told police her husband was the only other one with keys, police said.

    She then allowed police to search her house and detectives recovered a hooded sweatshirt with a half-face ski mask similar to what was described by several of the victims.

    Inside the Buick, police recovered a second ski mask.

    Bond was set at $250,000. Police said Rodriguez was arrested on April 2 and has been jailed since on a violation of parole.