A man in custody for alleged sexual battery is suspected in nearly two dozen such crimes in the area of UCLA and Westwood Plaza since October, police said Wednesday.

Derrick Kim, 32, was arrested on Tuesday and is being held in lieu of $575,000 bail, the Los Angeles Police Department reported.

“This case involved a sexual predator who has been active since October 23rd, 2020, and committed a reported 23 misdemeanor sexual batteries in the West LA area,” an LAPD statement alleges. “In almost all of the reported crimes, the suspect approached lone females from behind, fondled their breasts or buttocks and quickly fled from the scene. The suspect typically wore a hooded sweatshirt and a surgical type mask which concealed his face.”

The investigation conducted by the LAPD and the UCLA Police Department led to the identification of Kim as a possible suspect, and undercover LAPD detectives began a surveillance operation.

“While gathering information as to Mr. Kim’s movements, they observed him attack a 50-year-old female transient by groping her breasts,” police alleged. “Mr. Kim was immediately taken into custody without incident.”

Detectives believe there are other victims of similar attacks, and they urged people to call the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division at 213-486-6910; 877-LAPD-247; or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

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