KENDALL (CBSMiami) — Police released a sketch of a man they are searching for who is accused of fondling a 14-year old boy at a Miami mall.
According to police, the boy was shopping with his family at JCPenney in Dadeland Mall on the afternoon of Sunday, May 4th.
While his mother was at the register, the 14-year old wandered away.
Detectives said a man approached the boy and struck up a conversation with him about places to eat and then his pants size, saying he had a son around the same size that he wanted to buy pants for.
“The victim felt uneasy, started to walk away but the subject again engaged in conversation,” said Elena Hernandez of Miami-Dade Police.
While they talked, the man unbuttoned the boys pants, reached into them and molested him, according to police.
“He was able to get close enough to the victim where he was able to unbutton his pants reached in and he fondled the victim over his underwear,” said Hernandez.
The startled boy ran to a nearby store employee and told them what happened.
The man left the mall and was able to get away, but surveillance cameras captured a still image of him and the boy was able to help compose a sketch. Investigators believe the suspect is between 40 and 50 years old.
“We have a predator on the loose and we don’t know what he’s capable of doing next time,” said Hernandez.
Mall shoppers were stunned to learn about the incident.
“That’s disgusting, that’s disgusting,” said a parent who identified himself as Steven.
“It’s incredible that it would happen in the middle of a mall,” said shopper Maritza Padro. “He’s sick, to do anything to a child has to be a person that’s completely sick.”
“There’s cameras everywhere. I don’t understand how that could have even happened,” said shopper Rizqah Fakier.
Police want parents to be alert and aware. They said to keep your kids close and talk to them about how to protect themselves.
Even childless shoppers say they’ll be more vigilant.
Believe you me, if I get my hands on him that we’ll be the last time he’ll be touching any kids,” Jaime Benito told CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana.
That’s a sentiment echoed by Rudy Athouris.
“Don’t let me see it, ’cause if I see it, it just might get ugly. Let’s say that. I don’t respect that.
Every man should want to be a man and not play with a boy. What is that? He’ll be dealt with,” Athouris said.
Parents said they want the suspected molester found before he violates someone else’s child.
“He needs to be caught because if he’s done it here, he’s gonna do it again and again, and God knows how far he’ll go if nobody saw him or caught him in the first place,” said Steven.
JCPenny told CBS4 it can’t comment on an open investigation but say they are fully cooperating with police.
In response to the incident, mall management issued the following statement:
“We do not tolerate this type of behavior at Dadeland Mall. We are grateful for the swift response of the Miami-Dade Police Department and fully support their efforts. Any other inquiries should be directed to the Miami-Dade Police Department, as this matter is now under their investigation.”
Anyone with information is urged to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305)471-TIPS.
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