Avondale park worker sexually fondled; suspect on the loose

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AVONDALE -- Avondale police are advising the public to be on the lookout after a city park worker was sexually fondled Thursday morning.

Police say the worker was retrieving supplies from a storage closet on the northeast side of Friendship Park near Dysart and McDowell roads around 6:35 a.m. when she was grabbed from behind and sexually fondled by an unknown suspect.

Police spokesman Rick Rodriguez said the suspect was startled by a noise from another park worker and fled on foot toward McDowell Road. Police were not able to find him.

The suspect is described as a white male between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall with short, spiky brown hair and a moustache. He was wearing dark nylon running pants and a black hooded sweatshirt.

Police say the victim was shaken but unharmed.

"We hope that this was a random incident," Rodriguez said. "However, we encourage the public to be aware of their surroundings and to report anything suspicious."

Avondale's park rangers have stepped up patrol in the area to ensure the public's safety. Park visitors are advised to report any suspicious activity to park staff or to call the Avondale Police Department at 623-333-7001.