Man accused of groping women while riding scooter admitted to attacks, prosecutors say

Victor Manuel-Reyes, 36, said he targeted women who he said were wearing “something hot and short,” said prosecutors during his initial court hearing Sunday.

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Victor Manuel-Reyes, 36

Victor Manuel-Reyes, 36

Chicago police

A Chicago man accused of forcibly groping four women while riding a one-wheeled scooter admitted to most of the attacks and told investigators he targeted the victims because they were wearing “something hot and short,” prosecutors said Sunday.

Victor Manuel-Reyes, 36, of Pilsen, was arrested Friday and was later charged with felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery in a public place and criminal sexual assault, according to Chicago police and Cook County court records.

The first attack happened May 11, when Manuel-Reyes grabbed a woman under her pants as she walked her dog on the Navy Pier flyover bridge in the 400 block of North Lake Shore Drive, prosecutors said at his initial court hearing. She then posted about her experience on the app Nextdoor, where some users report crimes.

Manuel-Reyes then allegedly assaulted four more women on Aug. 4, drawing the attention of the police.

In one incident, he rode up behind a woman in the 1100 block of South State Street while she was walking to the nearby State Street Red Line stop, prosecutors said. He then allegedly forced his hand under the woman’s skirt, penetrating her and touching her buttocks.

She didn’t see his face, but CTA surveillance video captured the incident, prosecutors said. Images pulled from the surveillance footage were then used in an Aug. 6 alert notifying the public of that incident and another on June 1 that Manuel-Reyes hasn’t been charged with.

Manuel-Reyes groped another woman on Aug. 4 in the 1600 block of South Blue Island Avenue, prosecutors said. She tried to chase him and ultimately canvassed the area for surveillance footage that she gave to investigators.

The final attack happened that day in the 1200 block of South Michigan Avenue, where prosecutors said the victim reported Manuel-Reyes getting so close that she felt his breath on her neck and mistook him for her fiancee coming to give her a hug. Manuel-Reyes slapped her buttocks and rode off, prosecutors said.

He was arrested Friday at work after being identified in multiple photo lineups and surveillance images by victims and witnesses, prosecutors said. That included a former co-worker who identified him as the manager of a restaurant near Navy Pier.

Manuel-Reyes’ scooter and a helmet that he was seen wearing were both inventoried by police, prosecutors said.

He identified himself in surveillance photos and and admitted to touching three women, prosecutors said. He recalled approaching each victim because they were wearing “something hot and short,” or clothing “the woman looked good in.”

His public defender said Manuel-Reyes lives with his wife and has been working at the same restaurant for two years. He has no criminal background, prosecutors said.

In setting his bail at $40,000, meaning he’ll need to post a $4,000 deposit to be released, Judge Susana Ortiz described Manuel-Reyes as “a danger to the community.” If released, he’ll be placed on electronic monitoring.

Though he mostly communicated through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, he made one request in English after Ortiz’s ruling.

“Can I call my wife?” he asked.

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