Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Be on the Lookout!

This message is from a mom my daughter-in-law knows. Her daughter is in my granddaughter's Girl Scout troop. Scary world we live in...

"I am telling you this story to let you know this can happen anywhere. You all know me. You know my children. We are normal people who go to church with you, we go to school together, we socialize together. Some of you on this email list live in the ______ area, some of you have children or grandchildren that live in this area. This is not some story on Dateline or 48 Hours. This happened to me right here in Greensboro, NC.

Today I went to the McDonalds on the corner of Inman and Fleming Road. I met a friend for lunch so the kids could have a Happy Meal and play. Our daughters are friends and they have not seen each other much this summer.

While were eating, my friend and I noticed a man in the Playplace. He was alone and did not have any kids with him. He kept looking at the children and watching them. My friend and I commented to each other about how odd this was. We kept and eye on him but stayed and finished our lunch and then let the kids play.

While the children were up in the play structure I noticed he went to sit at a table where he could look up at the children. I saw him put his head back and then I saw him put his hands in his pants and start to masturbate. I thought he was calling out to talk to the children. I got up to get the manager. My friend heard him groaning and I called out to the kids to come on we have to go.

The man left through the side door (the alarm did not go off). We have since spoken to the police. Fortunately another customer saw this guy and wrote down his tag number. We hope to have him arrested, but only time will tell what happens.

When this happened I was shocked. I could not believe what I was seeing. My first reaction was to call 911. I didn’t and I wish I did. All I wanted to do was get my kids together and get out of there. I called the police when I got home. The detectives believe this man has done this before and may do it again, or it could escalate to something worse.

No one was physically injured today. This man did not touch the kids. He did not speak to them. All he did was look at them, but that is enough to make me feel sick. The girls know that there was a bad man at the McDonalds and they know we have been speaking with the police about him. I am shaken up over this and don’t know when I will feel comfortable again. I get ill when I think about what could have happened if I left them alone in that playplace.

My message to you is to keep your children safe, keep them with you. Keep your eyes open, trust your gut, call the police, and if you see something odd, make a note of it and write it down. This is happening everywhere, we as parents need to be aware and be prepared. The sheriff told me that I could have just called 911 and told them what was happening and then leave before the police got there if I was concerned about the kids.

We live in a world where we need to watch out for each other. We need to work together to make this a better place to live. I am thankful for the man who when out of his way to notice something odd, and make a note of a license plate number. Without that, we would have no chance at finding this guy. I am sorry to have sent a message like this today. I would have rather send something like, we are having a great summer (which we are) and the girls are having fun (which they are). Please keep your kids close, they are precious."

I am adding this part: If you ever see a male alone in the play area of a restaurant, shopping mall or park, be watchful and be prepared to call 911 if anything weird happens. Don't leave the area before you call either. Notify the manager, gather your children, go to your car and call 911 from there. Wait for the police to arrive and point out the culprit, or get his license plate number. A voyeur is not necessarily a molester, but how are we to know the difference on sight? Better to be safe than sorry.


Anonymous said...

As parents we have to be ever vigilant...not just for our own children, but for all children...Hilary was right about one thing...it does take a village to raise a child. Thanks for posting this...it never hurts to have a wake up call!

justrose said...

this is so creepy. i always try to stay alert for this stuff.

Tracie said...

We have actually taken a picture of a suspicious looking guy in the children's section of a bookstore all alone who seemed much more interested in the children than the books.......of course we reported it to management as well-but we figured, hey since we have got a camera right here, might as well use it! We got his tag number too!

Better safe than sorry is the truth!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

This is a very scary horrible story. I can remember as a young person being on the subway in New York and standing by the door because my stop was going to be the bext one after the one coming up. We stopped. The door opened and this man standing kind of behind a pillar but looking right at me was masturbating....I just froze there and prayed that the door would close before anything else might happen. The door DID close. But I was very shaken and I never ever forgot that awful thing that happened. That was not quite 65 years ago! Those things don't seem to change, do they? Really very disturbing.

Peter said...

Very disturbing story Judy, makes one fonder of animals at times, the other thing is there are some truly scary females around too so the rule applies to anyone seen acting strangely around kids.

ET said...

Not all people are to be trusted. Some are out to yank a child and do horrible things.

Merle said...

Hello Judy ~A frightening story but it's well worth telling to remind us all to be alert. It is a sad world when there are people like that about.
Thanks for your comments. Cheers, Merle.

Pickalish said...

The last 2 times I've taken the kids to the local 'sprinkler park' there has been an older man I am beginning to question. He does nothing but sit on a bench and stare, and seems harmless enough. But I know he doesn't have any children with him, and I find it extremely odd. In fact, I told myself that if we go next time and he's there....i'm calling the police. I never second guess my gut, and my gut is kind of rolling on this one. Scary.

PI said...

Wha happened to those carefree days of summer when our children could roam free?

Raggedy said...

I am sorry this happened to you.
Thank you for posting it to remind us to be more vigilant..
Huge Hugs

Malinda777 said...

So glad the kids are OK, but I know what you mean. This pervert has forever changed the first thing you think about when you hear or see McDonalds. I think the creep toll is rising in this country.

What a jerk. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I watch out daily for kids that aren't even mine. Lord knows a lot of young parents these days don't :)

Laura said...

In our area, we can go onto the county website and click on a link for sexual predators within any given zip code.
I would have done that later on and checked to see if the man's face looked familiar.
I also would have called the sherrifs office on the spot!

Your last paragraph has very good advice !

Carolyn said...

Some people are just so sick! That was horrible! I might have had to kick that man in the nuts before he finished himself off! Or threw hot McDonald's coffee on his privates! Ugh! I hope they catch that guy!!

Carmi said...

Ick! The only conclusion I can reach is that we live among monsters. I'm glad I wasn't there...I would have beat him to a pulp.

Brings a whole new meaning to the term Happy Meal, doesn't it?

Miss Cellania said...

Thats awful. It really makes me appreciate the security of our local skating rink, where they meet everyone at the door and find out why they are there and what child they are accompanying.

Terri said...

It's a very scary world out there...no doubt about it.
Thank goodness these mother's were paying attention! I see SO many that do not and I frankly can't understand it.