December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Florida man wandering Elyria streets charged with groping

Correction: Gary Roche is still being held at Lorain County Jail. This story originally indicated that Roche had been released on bond. 

Gary Roche

Gary Roche

ELYRIA — A mumbling man with a criminal past was arrested early Sunday after he groped one woman and tried to solicit sexual acts from another, police said.

Gary Roche, 47, of Bradenton, Fla., was charged with solicitation and sexual imposition.

Police received two calls within an hour from women who had been approached by Roche early Sunday, Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said.

The first call came about 3:30 a.m. from a woman who told police she was in the Walgreens parking lot on Cleveland Street when Roche came up to her and asked her if he could touch her breasts for $40. The woman told him to leave her alone, and Roche left the area, Costantino said.

About 20 minutes later, police received a call from a clerk at a Sunoco gas station in the 600 block of Cleveland Street. The clerk told police she was restocking shelves alone in the station when Roche came in, “mumbling something,” and grabbed her breasts, Costantino said. The clerk quickly went behind the guarded counter where she called police as Roche left the station.

Officers found Roche at the Walgreens an hour after the second incident. Roche denied any involvement in the incidents, but both women identified him as the suspect, police said.

Police found that Roche was wanted by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for an incident when Roche drove under the influence of alcohol and crashed his car, Costantino said. The warrant, which was issued May 8 from the Florida State Attorney’s Office, seeks to charge Roche with failing to stop in a crash that resulted in a death, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Roche was taken to the Lorain County Jail, where he was being held. His next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 16 in Elyria Municipal Court.

He eventually will be sent to Florida to stand trial.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.