Arroyo Grande police say a man groped a girl at Wal-Mart on Sunday and then ran away when approached by police, leading to a multiagency search that left one officer with minor injuries.
At about 8:14 p.m., officers responded to the store on the 1100 block of West Branch Street after a woman reported that a man had followed her daughter through the store and at one point walked up behind the girl, pushed into her and groped her, the Arroyo Grande Police Department said in a news release Monday.
Officers found the man nearby, and he ran toward the area of the Premier Inn when they approached him, the news release said.
Officers set up a perimeter in the area with the help of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Grover Beach and Pismo Beach police departments. A K-9 unit was also deployed.
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Officers soon found and arrested 21-year-old Grover Beach resident Richard Daniel Dering Jr. on suspicion of felony sexual battery, misdemeanor resisting an officer and annoying or molesting a person younger than 18.
He was taken to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital for medical clearance before being booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he remained Monday morning in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Police say one Arroyo Grande officer was hurt during the chase and was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and released.