Apache Junction Police Department officers responded to the Fry’s Grocery Store at 150 E. Old West Highway at about 9 p.m. Feb. 18 for a report of a man who had forcibly groped a woman in the parking lot.
“When AJPD officers arrived on scene they were provided with security surveillance footage from inside and outside of the store. There were at least two witnesses who saw the suspect fleeing the parking lot in a dark colored SUV or crossover type vehicle,” police said in a release.
“After reviewing the surveillance footage, investigators decided to release the suspect’s photograph to the public through AJPD’s Facebook page. Within 10 minutes of putting the picture on Facebook the Community Resource Division of AJPD received a call from someone who was willing and able to identify him,” police said.
The suspect was identified as Juan Barrelleza, 20, of Apache Junction.
Investigators located and transported Mr. Barrelleza to the police station for questioning. Mr. Barrelleza was transported to the Pinal County Detention Center where he was booked on one count of sexual abuse and one count of assault. He is being held on $25,000 secured bond.
“AJPD would like to thank the community for their involvement in helping to identify Mr. Barrelleza. The Facebook post seeking the public’s assistance was shared over a thousand times within just one hour of its posting. This case was disconcerting for everyone in Apache Junction and it highlights the importance of the partnership that exists between AJPD and the community members,” Cpl. Marshall Harshman, AJPD’s public information officer, said.
If anyone in the community has had a similar experience or believe you may have been contacted by this individual, contact the Apache Junction Police Department at 480-982-8260
It should be noted; all suspects are considered innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law, according to the release.