A 23-year-old woman was grabbed from behind Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at the parking lot at Cedar and Church streets.
The woman told Santa Cruz Police that she was reaching into her car to pick up some items when she felt someone reach under her skirt and grab her buttocks.
The man was there when she turned around and made lewd comments. He appeared to be intoxicated, she said.
Another man came over and apologized for his friend's behavior and pushed his friend into the passenger seat of an SUV parked next to the woman.
Police are looking for the man, who took off in a 1990s model silver Toyota 4Runner.
The suspect is described as being a white male, 25-30, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 165-170, wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants.
Deputy Chief Steve Clark said this doesn't appear to be linked to the Jan. 11 case of a 12-year-old girl who was groped.
Anyone with information is asked to call Santa Cruz Police at (831) 420-5820.