A California man was arrested for allegedly trying to lure a 6-year-old girl into a restroom at the Food4Less grocery store in Riverside, California (video below).
On March 8, Riverside Police released closed-circuit camera recordings of the Feb. 15 incident, and arrested Theodore Childers the following day, reports the Daily Mail. The girl was shopping with her grandmother at the store.
"A male suspect attempted to lure the juvenile towards him by telling her he would give her a treat," police said in a statement. "He also motioned for her to come towards him while he was standing near the entrance to the men’s restroom. The incident was caught on the store's surveillance system."
The video shows a man though to be Childers motioning the girl to come toward him, but she disappeared into the women's restroom instead, seemingly aware of the threat.
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The website KidsHealth encourages parents to "set boundaries about the places your kids go. Supervise them in places like malls, movie theaters, parks, public bathrooms."
It also advises parents to talk to their children about safety, and teach them to:
- Never accept candy or gifts from a stranger.
- Never go anywhere with a stranger, even if it sounds like fun. Predators can lure kids with questions like "Can you help me find my lost puppy?" or "Do you want to see some cute kittens in my car?" Remind your kids that adults they don't know should never ask them to help or to do things for them.
- Run away and scream if someone follows them or tries to force them into a car.
- Say no to anyone who tries to make them do something you've said is wrong or touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Always tell you or another trusted adult if a stranger asks personal questions, exposes himself or herself, or otherwise makes them feel uneasy. Reassure kids that it's OK to tell you even if the person made them promise not to or threatened them in some way.
- Always ask permission from a parent to leave the house, yard, or play area or to go into someone's home.
The little girl at the Food4Less grocery store apparently learned those lessons, because she avoided the stranger and escaped unharmed.
Childers is currently being held on a misdemeanor charge of annoying or molesting children. His bail has been set at $5,000, and he is scheduled to appear in court on March 13.