PUYALLUP, Wash. – Police are on the hunt for a man responsible for a robbery and an assault targeting adult themed store employees.
The first incident happened Friday night in Puyallup and the second escalated to a sexual assault in Tacoma early Monday morning.
Surveillance video released by Puyallup police shows a masked man accost a female employee near closing time at the Lovers store Friday night.
The video appears to show the suspect holding one employee too close for comfort. Then he walks her through the store, followed by a second employee, while police say the suspect robs them of merchandise and cash, say detectives.
The Puyallup Police Department told Q13 News it has increased patrols around the shopping district along South Meridian after Friday’s robbery.
“There’s a lot of girls that work here and around here that probably don’t know how to defend themselves,” said Katie Kortman who lives nearby.
Then early Monday morning, Tacoma police say the same man laid in wait near Castle Superstore where he assaulted a male employee at closing time and sexually assaulted a female employee.
Both crimes have occurred at adult themed stores targeted by the same suspect within a few days, according to police.
It’s enough for Kortman to consider her personal safety.
“I just recently ordered mace, I have a taser and I also have a knife,” she said.
Tacoma police described the suspect as a heavy-set black man wearing all black clothing and being around six feet tall.
Law enforcement are suggesting anyone who works into the late-night hours pay close attention to their surroundings and be aware when leaving work. They also suggesting people walk in pairs to avoid being targeted.