A woman was groped while shopping at an Alexandria store Thursday, an assault that police believe is related to a series of similar incidents over the past seven months.

Police said a 31-year-old woman was inside the HomeGoods store in Kingstowne Center around 3 p.m. when a man grabbed her from behind. The suspect immediately fled, despite attempts by people nearby to stop him, police said.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, about 30 years old, who was wearing a black jacket, light-colored pants and a black hat. The description matches that of the suspect linked to nearly two dozen similar groping incidents in Fairfax County’s Springfield area.

Since September, police have been searching for the so-called “serial groper” with no luck. More than 20 sexual assaults have been reported since then, all by women who were walking, jogging or waiting at bus stops. Most of the incidents occurred in and around the Springfield neighborhood of Monticello Forest.

Thursday’s incident differs from the previous assaults because it took place indoors, in a commercial business, with other people nearby. If connected, it would be the 24th such sexual assault by a suspect that police have described as “brazen.”

A composite sketch of the serial groper in Fairfax County. (Courtesy of Fairfax County Police)

Anyone with information can call 1-866-411-TIPS/8477 or 703-691-2131; submit a tip online at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org; or send a tip via text message to “TIP187.”