San Diego

Man Wanted for Sex Assault, Indecent Exposure Inside Dollar Tree

A woman who says she was sexually assaulted at a Dollar Tree in Lemon Grove is speaking with NBC 7 in hopes deputies will catch the man who did it.

Security cameras recorded the suspect exposing and touching himself behind the woman while she was shopping at the store on the 7100 block of Broadway on April 8 just before 4:30 p.m.

Blanca Chavez was shopping for an Easter gift for her grandson when the alleged assault happened. She was focused on the merchandise in the toy section of aisle two, but turned in time to catch the suspect performing a sex act behind her.

Blanca Chavez took photos of the man as he appeared on the security monitor while police were reviewing the video.

“This is him looking directly at the camera. he knew what he what doing,” Chavez said. “My first reaction was , ‘What the f----.’"

Chavez says the man held a gift bag in front of himself to hide what he was doing behind her. But when she felt something on her sweater, she turned to see the man exposing and touching himself.

"I was crying, then I was mad, then I was angry at myself because I felt like I could have done more,” Chavez said.

She said she screamed for help and even tried to catch the man herself, but he escaped out the front door and around the back of the store.

Crime Stoppers surveillance images of the suspect. Chavez describes him as dark-skinned, about 40 years old, and 5 feet 9 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a yellow t-shirt, black pants and black shoes.

"If he did this to me, what could he do to a kid?” Chavez wondered. While the experience was terrifying, Blanca said it’s also a reminder for her and those who hear her story.

“Nowadays, there is nowhere safe,” she said. “You think you are in a safe surrounding and you are not."

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

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