Wednesday, August 4, 2010
A Gaithersburg man accused of squirting semen from a bottle onto a grocery shopper last month was arrested this week in a similar case and may have done the same thing at least twice before, officials said Tuesday.
On July 15 at a Giant Food store in Gaithersburg, police said, a man discharged fluid from a small bottle similar to those used to hold hand sanitizer and then snapped a photo of the act with his cellphone. The victim saved her unwashed shirt and skirt, providing investigators with a possible DNA sample.
Michael Wayne Edwards Jr., 28, has been charged in that incident and in another at a Michaels craft store, also in Gaithersburg. Police said that after questioning Edwards, they are looking for at least two more victims.
Gaithersburg police ask anyone who may have noticed an unusual substance on their clothes but wrote it off as benign to call them at 301-258-6400. "No one would ever think that someone would do this," said Officer Dan Lane.
Edwards, who is free on bond, is scheduled for two trials on assault charges in September. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Police say officers were called to the Giant on Muddy Branch Road on July 15 after a woman said she felt something in her hair as she was walking out of the store. She said that she asked the man behind her if he'd felt a drip from above but that the man "acted like he didn't know what she was talking about," according to an arrest affidavit filed in court.
In the parking lot, the woman asked a friend to look at her clothes. Her friend said it looked like semen. The victim told police that she then spotted the man in the parking lot and walked toward him, but he sped away.
Detective Patrick Word examined surveillance video and saw the suspect purchase groceries using his store bonus card. In the doorway, the man can be seen squirting fluid from a bottle and taking a picture, police said.
Police identified Edwards through his bonus card and the surveillance video. Forensic tests confirmed the substance as semen. DNA tests are pending.
Montgomery County Detective Scott Brooks had been investigating the Michaels case since November. A shopper said a man followed her into the store. After he walked by, she felt liquid on the back of her sweater. She looked and thought it was semen. Lab results confirmed it.
Brooks matched that assailant's description to Edwards, who was charged in the case.