A man arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman on a South Bay beach late Friday night has been linked to three other violent crimes within the same area, according to the Redondo Beach Police Department.
Gilberto Lopez-Quinonez, 18, was arrested just after midnight Saturday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman on Redondo Beach just south of the I Avenue lifeguard tower.
After Lopez-Quinonez was arrested, officers were able to connect him with another sexual assault case and two “strong armed” individual robberies, according to police.
All incidents occurred in the same area, during late evening and early morning hours, and involved female victims.
“Based on the other (sexual assault) incident we tied him to, we believe that this sexual predator was targeting woman that were by themselves after dark,” Redondo Beach Lt. Joseph Hoffman said.
The incident Saturday that led to Lopez-Quinonez’s arrest is especially “scary” because it happened out in the open on the beach.
“It wasn’t in or near the bathroom, which is one of the things that makes this a scary incident,” Hoffman said. “If people can’t be safe out in the open like that, it’s troubling for everybody.”
The suspect, who police say “is clearly a predator,” allegedly attacked the victim when she and her friend briefly separated to use the bathroom.
Police said the victim’s friend was close enough to hear her screams and was able to “catch and hold the suspect” until officers arrived.
“If it wasn’t for the actions of this heroic citizen, this suspect may still be out there and we may still be looking for somebody and they could possibly victimize another person,” Hoffman said.
Police urge those who are in an unpopulated area after dark to stay safe by:
- Always being with a friend
- Being aware of your surroundings
- Keeping an eye out for suspicious people
- Contacting the police department if anything suspicious or out of the ordinary presents itself
Police are asking that for anyone else that believes they may be a victim of Lopez-Quinonez to contact police.