A Federal Way man is locked up after police say he was caught on tape in a busy store preying on young girls.
Federal Way police released surveillance video from two stores where a man boldly approached girls.
Investigators said the suspect would hang out in the girl's clothing section and would then approach them. In one instance, he touched a 10-year-old's chest, another time he dropped his pants in
front of a 9-year-old.
In each incident times, the girl's parents weren't too far away.
Cathy Schrock with Federal Way Police said it is an important lesson in why parents need to be with their kids at all times, even inside busy stores.
"Even if it was one row away, you have to keep a child close and within sight," she said.
Police released the man's photo Thursday to local media and to members of its "Safe Cities" coalition. "Safe Cities" is a collaboration between law enforcement, local businesses and security
One retail store, Sears in Federal Way, is a member and security officers there quickly realized the man was inside the store.
"He began to exit Sears and loss prevention officers followed, while calling Federal Way Police," a spokesperson said. "The suspect was ultimately located at Big Lots."
Police aren't sure if he was browsing for his next victim; parents say it's a scary thought.
"You don't think a pedophile is going to do that in such a public place. You figure they're hiding out or stalking playgrounds," Kemistry Stevens said.
Stevens shopped at the same Goodwill store where the suspect targeted one girl and said she'll keep a closer eye on her kids.
The police are glad they got to the suspect before he got to another child. They're asking parents to keep an eye on young children and have open discussions about strangers approaching them.
"These types of crimes have proven that damage can happen to a child so quickly,' Schrock said.
The suspect is a 41-year-old Federal Way suspect who is not a registered sex offender. Schrock described him as appearing "quite normal." It is further proof that there is no specific look for
someone who might target your children.
The man is being held on suspicion of child molestation.