WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Police are warning women not to walk or jog alone on the popular Iron Horse Trail near Walnut Creek. They say a man has touched women inappropriately three different times this month and are trying to find him.
East Bay Regional Park District Police Department said on Friday they are keeping a close watch on the trail and are searching for man they say committed sexual battery on three different female joggers.
The most recent was Thursday evening at around 5 p.m. on the over cross above Treat Boulevard.
"The suspect came up from behind the victim and inappropriately grabbed the female," said East Bay Regional Park District police Lt. Terrence Cotcher.
Police say the woman chased the man, but he got away. She was not physically injured.
They say a man fitting a similar description attacked two other women a few hundred yards from the over crossing on March 4 and again on March 11.
"These are three very serious and honestly very scary events that have occurred over a 10-day period," said Cotcher.
Witnesses describe the attacker as a thin white man, 25-27 years old between 5'9" and 5'10" tall with dark hair a beard or goatee. He was wearing dark athletic clothing.
Women along the trail on Friday say they were unaware of what happened.
"It's scary. I hope they catch him," said Carol Pablik of Antioch.
"A lot of mental illness isn't being treated. People are acting out on things they need treatment for. And young women seem to be the casualty of it," said Lizzie Hedrick of Walnut Creek.
A woman was attacked on the same trail two years ago. Authorities made an arrest in that case.
Police recommend people avoid taking the trail alone.
"After work I would run here sometimes. But now I probably won't unless I am with another person," said Meg Malara of Martinez.
"You can't stop your life because some creepy things have happened," said Hedrick.
Investigators are asking anyone who may have seen something on the trail or has any video to please contact them.
People can call the East Bay Regional Park District police dispatch center at 510-881-1833 or the Anonymous Tip Line at 510-690-6521.