Groping suspect connected to several incidents in LCSO custody

A serial groper is now off the streets. The suspect is in custody by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday evening. They say he’s responsible for at least five attacks on women.

The victim in the Dollar Tree incident told us she was called in by LCSO to choose the suspect out of a lineup, leading to his arrest.

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers confirms the suspect is linked to incidents that occurred at a McDonald’s near FGCU in Lee County, a Publix off Daniels Parkway in south Fort Myers and a Dollar Tree on U.S. 41 near Target in south Fort Myers.

Surveillance image of groper suspect. Credit: via Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.

Another woman has come forward to WINK News, claiming a man approached her in a similar way to a woman who claims she was groped outside a south Fort Myers Dollar Tree. The woman told us she might not have called the Sheriff’s Office if she had not seen the first woman’s story on WINK.

Lisa Vargas was waiting for some french fries at spot No. 1 outside of a McDonald’s. A man got out of his car in spot No. 4 and came her way. “I slightly roll down my window and asked him how I can help him,” she said. “And he then said if he could do certain things to my private parts.”

That immediately made her nervous. But the McDonald’s worker delivering her fries saved the day or she thought. When she drove into a nearby parking lot, Vargas told WINK the man followed her, asking for kisses. “I was a nervous wreck,” Vargas said. “I was shaking. I sat in the parking lot for about 20 minutes before I went home.”

When Vargas turned on the news, she saw a WINK report about a woman who said a guy groped her in a parking lot outside of a Dollar Tree. The victim knew what the suspect looked like because he followed her down three aisles and she had a “perfect view” of his face.

“When I read that report and heard the description of the gentleman, I thought, I got cold chills,” she said. “I thought, ‘oh, my god, that was the same man that approached me at McDonald’s!'”

Dr. David Thomas, a forensics expert at Florida Gulf Coast University, made a predication during our report on Friday that the woman’s story might encourage other victims to come forward.

Lee County Sheriff’s Office did not tell us anything about the investigation outside the McDonald’s. Vargas told us detectives said her description matches at least four or five other cases. “This is actually something serious going on and this gentleman will not stop until he’s caught,” she said. “I believe that he is honing his skills at this point.”

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Michael Mora
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