Man solicits boy in store bathroom
HOW TO HELPAnyone with information on this incident is encouraged to call Victoria Crime Stoppers at 361-572-4200.
A Victoria boy remains traumatized after a man peeped over his bathroom stall in JC Penney on Saturday, his mother said.
Victoria resident Norma Alvarado, 37, said her 10-year-old son had gone into the bathroom about 4 p.m. near the store's hair salon, while she and her other son continued shopping.
Not long after the boy entered the stall and sat on the toilet, the boy said an older man stood on top of the toilet in the adjoining stall and peeped over the top.
Alvarado said her son told her the man then began making what he described as weird faces and hand gestures and demanding that the boy open the stall door.
In a panic, the boy started screaming and called his mother's cell phone, which was in his brother's possession.
The 10-year-old did not discuss what was happening, and the older brother just told him to hurry up and come back to them.
The man, possibly deterred by the boy's screaming and the phone call, left the bathroom soon afterward.
Alvarado returned to the bathroom area to find out what was taking her son so long, only to find him crouched behind some clothes in the young men's section crying, she said.
"He couldn't even talk," said Alvarado.
The worried mother was eventually able to get the story of what happened from her son.
The boy described the suspect as an older white man with white hair who was wearing what looked to be a uniform of some sort.
The worried mother alerted store employees to the situation.
In her opinion, however, she said they did not take any quick action to locate the suspect such as locking down the store doors nor did they let her son view the surveillance footage of people entering and leaving the bathroom, citing it would have been a violation of company policy.
"As far as the management, I'm very disappointed with them," said Alvarado. "I wasn't satisfied with what they did."
She added, "They didn't seem too worried about it."
"We do and did take the matter very seriously when it was reported to our store," said Tim Lyons, spokesperson for JC Penney. "We are working with the police to assist in their investigation in any way we can."
He added, "The security of our customers is a top priority in our stores."
At this point, Lyons said all store employees have been made aware of the situation and have increased their awareness.
Alvarado came forward with her son's story to make the public aware that a predator was on the loose, she said.
Alvarado said her son is struggling to cope with the incident. "Now, when he goes to the bathroom, he wants me to wait right outside of the door."
Victoria police chief Bruce Ure said the allegation is under investigation, which includes reviewing in-store video.