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Suspected foot-fetish attacker sought by authorities

Medford police are looking for a man wearing a red baseball cap who abused a 15-year-old girl's feet Tuesday after asking her to try on a pair of shoes at a Medford clothing store.

Detective Sgt. Mike Budreau said the man was described as being in his 40s, caucasian, 6-feet-tall, thin build, with brown thinning hair, who was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. He was not an employee of the store, Ross Dress for Less.

Budreau said the man approached the girl about 1 p.m. and asked her to try on a pair of shoes, supposedly for his wife. The girl consented. He proceeded to help her buckle the shoes and then began kissing and fondling her feet and lower leg.

When the girl yelled for her sister, the man ran off, police said.

"He is someone that is sexually gratified by feet and the lower leg," Budreau said. "It's bizarre, but there are people like that."

Two women who learned of the incident later informed police that a man had approached them in a similar manner, one at JCPenney, the other at Ross. Both women told police they immediately pulled away when the man tried buckling their shoe, Budreau said.

The women viewed video from Ross cameras, and told police they were approached by the same man who approached the girl, Budreau said.

Three similar cases occurred in a Clackamas County Target store on July 17 and 18. Budreau said videos indicated the same man had visited the Clackamas store and the Medford stores.

The man was wearing the red baseball cap in all the videos.

"We got such great pictures of him that we're confident that someone will recognize him," he said.

Police said the man could face charges of first-degree sexual abuse, which carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of six years and three months under Measure 11 guidelines.

Budreau said the man may have approached other women "but I think the victims could be embarrassed or feel dirty."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Medford Detective Diane Sandler at 774-2247.