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Man charged with committing sex crimes against shoppers inside West End grocery stores

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Posted at 4:24 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 17:41:55-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A man was arrested and charged with sexual battery following an investigation into October incidents that happened inside West End grocery stores.

"Through a joint effort, Chesterfield and Henrico County Police worked collaboratively to investigate these assaults," a Henrico Police spokesperson wrote in an email. "Based on the investigation, detectives were able to identify the suspect as 24-year-old Zachary Ryan Martin of Amelia."

Martin is alleged to have touched at least one victim, the spokesperson added. The sexual battery charge stemmed from unwanted touching.

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Both incidents occurred on the evening of Tuesday, October 27.

The first incident was reported at Publix along the 9000 block of West Broad Street near Springfield Road.

"A female victim reported a male had been staring at her, acting suspiciously as he walked away," a Henrico Police spokesperson wrote in an email. "With the assistance of management, who is working closely with police, were able to review the footage and observe a male on camera following the victim into the aisle. After a brief encounter, the male immediately exits the store and walks to a black Chevrolet Impala."

Less than an hour later, a similar incident was reported at Food Lion along the 11000 block of Patterson Avenue, near Lauderdale Road.

"The female victim reported being followed around and the male was acting suspiciously," the email from police continued. "Video evidence showed the male arriving to the store in what is described as a black Chevrolet Impala with dark tinted windows."

Police believe the incidents were related.

Anyone with information was asked to call Henrico Detective Alphin at 804-501-4143 or Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.