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Man arrested for bus groping in Costa Mesa

Herath Premaratnea, 55, was arrested and charged with molesting a 16-year-old girl on a bus in Costa Mesa.

October 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A 55-year-old man was arrested on Thursday night after he was caught on tape groping a young girl on a bus in Costa Mesa. Orange County Sheriff's deputies got a tip and were waiting for Herath Premaratnea of Los Angeles as he got off a bus on Thursday night. He's in custody on suspicion of sexual battery.

A 16-year-old girl said she was riding a bus on Monday when a man sitting next to her rubbed her leg and tried to unzip her pants.

"She turns away, starts crying, apparently frozen in fear," said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Surveillance video shows the man getting off the bus behind the girl that same day.

A review of more security video suggests Premaratnea may be linked to other incidents. As authorities look through surveillance video, they noticed the suspect victimized a second girl on her way to school the same morning.

"The suspect sat next to her, rubbed her leg," said Amormino. "She did hit him with her elbow. That incident went unreported."

Investigators said Premaratnea rode the bus for hours Monday, getting on and off throughout the day focusing mainly on routes 55 and 47.

If you have any information, call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 1-866-TIP-OCSD.


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