(Bridgeport, CT – April 14, 2014) — Detectives have secured an arrest warrant charging a city man with approaching and groping two high school students on separate occasions in the East Side.
Detectives Martin Heanue and Jorge Cintron secured the warrant on Thursday charging Harry Rodriguez, 40, of Hallet Street. He currently is jailed on unrelated charges. The warrant charges him 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 will be served with the warrant in Superior Court.
The warrant stems from an investigation started after a report of six incidents in March where a male approached females, improperly touched them and then ran off. Rodriguez has been charged in connection with two of those incidents, and the investigation remains ongoing. Based on descriptions by the victims, the same person is believed to be responsible for all six. Additional charges are possible.
“This case was a priority and Detectives Heanue and Cintron did an outstanding job in linking Rodriguez to two of the incidents,” said Capt. James Viadero, the head of the detective division. “The suspect showed no signs of stopping. Only when police locked him up did the incidents stop.”
School Police Officer John Forestier and other school resource officers also provided key assistance, Viadero said.
“The most important thing is keeping our kids safe,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Great work by detectives and SROs did exactly that.”
The victims ranged in age from their early to late teens.
The initial incident happened on March 20 near Harding High School. That victim, 18, described being grabbed by a thin male who ran away and fled in a grayish-colored Buick. 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.
Heanue and other detectives canvassed the area and checked for any video that might help identify a suspect or vehicle. 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. Heanue on video also saw a male matching the description of the assailant walking in the area and running away a few minutes later.
On March 31, Lt. Paul Grech located a silver Buick parked on Maple Street near Hallet Street. The car matched the description of the car believed to be used by the assailant with the exception that it had tinted windows.
When detectives went to the address to which the car was registered, they spoke with Rodriguez. He stated he had the windows tinted a few days before.
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.”
Later, police showed photographs of the car to Rodriguez’s wife. The photos were from video taken just before and after the March 27 incident. She identified the car as hers and said her husband was the only other one with keys.
She then consented to let police 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.
The warrant carries a bond of $250,000.
Rodriguez was arrested on April 2 and has been jailed since on a violation of parole.