“The attacks do appear random," Caldwell said. “Certainly no one would be expecting or suspecting anything like this to occur.”
In Monday’s incident, an 18-year-old was browsing in the XXI Forever store in Fair Oaks Mall around 5:30 p.m. when she noticed a man behind her bending down to pick up clothes that had fallen off the rack, Caldwell said. She felt a sudden pain and thought that she might have been poked by a hanger, according to police. She then noticed she was bleeding. Her denim shorts had been slashed.
The woman suffered a 1.5-inch wound, police said.
Two other recent cases occurred at the H&M in Tyson’s Corner around 8:30 p.m. June 10, and at the Marshalls in the Greenbriar Shopping Center on June 20 around 2:45 p.m., police said.
The suspect, who was caught on surveillance tapes, is described as a heavy-set 5'6'' Latino in his late 20s, police said. He wore white shorts and a short-sleeved shirt in Monday's attack.
“This is certainly concerning, and we're taking it very seriously,” Caldwell said. “We haven't heard of anything like this before. This is very unusual.”