Person suspected of grabbing joggers charged with sexual battery
Eric Wheeler (Photo from Metro PD)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A man suspected of grabbing or groping at least six Nashville women, most of them joggers, has now been indicted on four felony counts of sexual battery.
Eric D. Wheeler, 21, who now lives in Bradley, IL, was first arrested on Feb. 8 on two assault counts for grabbing women on Jan. 10 and Jan. 24.
A new indictment accuses him of accosting women in four additional cases from Feb. 7, 2012; Nov. 26, 2012; Nov. 29, 2012; and Jan. 13, 2013.
In the Feb. 7 and Nov. 26 cases from last year, women were jogging on Forestwood Drive at Knob Road and on Blakemore Avenue at Natchez trace when they were grabbed from behind.
In the Nov. 29 case from 2012, a 13-year-old girl reported she was grabbed on Fairfax Avenue as she walked home from school.
The victim in the Jan. 13 case from this year reported that she was grabbed as she exited a drug store on West End Avenue.
The two assault counts from the Jan. 10 and Jan. 24 cases are still pending.
During questioning in February, Wheeler "admitted to a fascination with women in public places and his desire to feel their skin," according to police news release.
On Jan. 10, police said a 24-year-old woman was jogging on Clearview Drive near Woodmont Circle when a tan car approached a parked ahead of her. When she ran by the car, Wheeler allegedly stepped out and grabbed her from behind, police said. The woman said the man smirked at her before getting back into the car and leaving.
On Jan. 24, a different 24-year-old woman was jogging on Marlborough Avenue when Wheeler allegedly asked for directions while seated inside a car. After she responded, he extended his arm to shake hands, and as she reached back to his hand, he allegedly grabbed her arm and pulled, police said. The woman broke free and fell to the ground, and she reported that the driver laughed and drove away.
Anyone who may have been the victim of a similar assault or attack, but did not report it to police at the time, is urged to contact the Sex Crimes Unit at 862-7540.
Wheeler is free on $40,000 bail and due for a hearing on May 8.
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