UPDATE: Police have charged a Barooga man following an appeal to the public for information after an indecent assault in Cobram on Monday.
Samuel Boxsell has been charged with one count of indecent act with a child under 16.
The 24-year-old appeared in an out of sessions hearing overnight and was remanded in custody to appear in Shepparton Magistrates Court today.
Cobram Crime Investigation Unit detectives thanked the media for their assistance in the coverage of the incident and also the public for their overwhelming response.
POLICE have described the indecent assault of a girl, 7, who was within arm’s reach of her mother, at a Cobram supermarket as “brazen”.
A young blond-haired man assaulted the girl several times as her mother collected items off shelves of the Banks Street Woolworths about 10am on Monday.
The girl told her mother, who was also shopping with the girl’s younger sibling.
The mother notified staff and the police.
Cobram police Detective Sen-Constable Justin Schulze said the mother was “distressed”.
“It was quite busy at the time, with that many people there. It’s pretty brazen,” he said.
“He’s followed the victim around through the store and indecently assaulted the seven-year-old on a number of occasions.
“The girl was trailing behind and as the woman has turned around getting the shopping he’s assaulted her.”
Sen-Constable Schulze said the bold act had led police to believe he might strike again.
He said the attack was unusual because it was less common for children to be assaulted by strangers.
“Most sexual assaults of children are by someone known to the children because they have their trust,” he said.
Police are now hunting for the man whose image was captured by the supermarket’s CCTV cameras.
They have released an image of the man, believed to be aged between 22 and 25 and described as having a “clean appearance”.
He is Caucasian, about 182 centimetres tall, with a thin build, fair skin and short blond hair.
The clean-shaven man was reported as having spoken with an Australian accent.
He was wearing black tracksuit pants, a black T-shirt with a white print of a city skyline on the left pocket and black and grey sneakers.
The man was carrying a drink bottle and a light blue hoodie over his shoulder.
Cobram grandmother Pam Brunskill, who often takes her grandchildren shopping, said she was “absolutely horrified”.
“It’s disgusting and I don’t know how it could happen in a place with so many people,” she said.
“They might look like nice people, (but) it can happen in your own home town. It can happen by your neighbour.”
A Finley mother, shopping at the supermarket yesterday with her three young daughters, said she was shocked the girl had been targeted at a store where she regularly took her own children.
“That’s terrible, you can’t even take your eye off them for one second,” she said.
“That’s just unbelievable. It’s crazy.”
A Berrigan father, shopping with his three sons, said anyone found guilty of such an offence should be castrated.
“It won’t change anything, but it’s good to know to keep an eye out and be more alert,” he said.
Anyone who recognises the man or has any information about the incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au.