WOODLAND HILLS—On Friday, July 20, Alon Lerner, 22, allegedly caught sexually harassing women on surveillance videos at multiple stores in Canoga Park and Woodland Hills earlier this month, surrendered himself to authorities at the Los Angeles Police Department’s Topanga Station.
Detective Paul Vernon, head of the Topanga Patrol Division indicated on Friday, “As a local, Lerner was readily recognized by several persons who saw his picture on the news, dubbed the ‘Preppy Masher,’ and sent tips overnight. Detectives will work to confirm Lerner as the suspect, based upon pictures and clothing, then present the case to the District Attorney.”
According to a press release from the LAPD, Lerner’s bail was set at $65,000. He was booked at the Van Nuys Jail on a charge of felony sexual battery. Lerner has no prior criminal history.
The reports of assault occurred between June 10 and June 11. Four separate women reported being accosted by Lerner at shoe stores, women’s clothing stores, and a large department store. According to a statement made by Arlene Padilla, the victims accused the suspect of, “walking up behind them and thrusting his groin in their buttocks.” In one of the assaults, Lerner approached a woman from behind while she was walking in a parking garage and embraced her in a “bear-hug.” He quickly released her, and she reportedly started chasing after him.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Det. Arlene Padilla, Topanga Detective Division, at (818) 756-3376. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.