Two recent sexual gropings in Mankato have police wondering whether they are connected.

In the first incident, an 18-year-old woman reported to police that while she was walking alone on Pohl Road between Balcerzak Drive and Stadium Road about 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 1, a man ran up behind her and put a hand down her pants and up her shirt before fleeing on foot. The suspect is described as black, in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches and with thin build. He was wearing a camouflage jacket.

Police are looking into whether that reported assault may be related to a similar incident late Saturday in a hall at the Performing Arts building at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

In that case, according to authorities, the man wrapped his arms around his victim and then grabbed her over her clothing in a sexually aggressive manner.

The suspect's description is the same as in the earlier case, except that he was wearing an orange hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Anyone with information about either case is urged to contact police at 1-507-387-8780.

PAUL WALSH