Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Always be Alert!

Where do I begin?

Recently I encountered a possible sicko at the mall play area. Is this real life? I could barely believe this was happening to me again, though in a much different way. I will say that I have no solid proof that this man was a pedophile, so I thought I would put that out there… innocent until proven guilty and all, whatever.

I took Nugget to the mall to get her some new shoes with a gift card we had received from friend. Normally I avoid the mall like the plague, but free shoes are free shoes! After checking out we headed over to the play area to let Nugget run off some energy before naptime. My sister (Punkin), her fiancé (Booboo) and I watched on as Nugget ran, jumped and played happily. At one point Booboo decided to check out the video game store nearby and Punkin went with him. Fifteen minutes later I started herding my child over to get her shoes on. She was not happy so I took her outside the area to calm her down. That is when I saw him.

A man in a black puffy ski coat and a small black camera in his hands stood up against the outside of the play area wall. He had the camera “hidden” in the fake plant that lined the top of the wall and he was snapping pictures, possibly taking video. I moved closer in order to follow his gaze, maybe I was being overly sensitive and his kids were out there. He was not focused on one child… or two… he was taking pictures across the whole area. The camera remained covered by the plant the whole time. At one point he looked up at me and I know I was staring, maybe even glaring at him. He seemed startled, put the camera in his pocket and walked away. Internally I was freaking out. I couldn’t bring myself to speak the words I want to say. “Do you have a child out there?” or “what are you taking pictures of?” ANYTHING!!! Instead I got my child in her shoes and called Punkin and told her to get back ASAP.

I had every intention of going to security, and then I noticed the man came back! To the other side of the area! I walked over and stood right by him and called mall security, again he walked away. At this point I was having a full blown panic attack. I walked over to the security desk and gave the description to the guard: A man in his late 20s or early 30s, tan/dark possibly Middle Eastern/Indian or Hispanic, black puffy coat, black camera, short hair.

I do not know if they caught him. I do not know for sure if he wanted pictures for inappropriate reasons, but I do know he gave me the chills and his behavior seemed very shady. I would rather report it and be wrong then say nothing. If he is innocent then he has nothing to worry about… but if he was completely innocent why hide your camera inside of the plants? Why stand outside of the play area? Why leave and comeback? Why take pictures of other people’s children?
My gut said creeper. I went with my gut.

I wish Booboo was there at that moment. I wish one of the dads would have approached this guy. I wish I would have done more. In the end I did act, I did report and I encourage all of you to be vigilant at all times.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Good for you for saying something, B. Sometimes we think we're too jaded by our experiences and see evil all over but sometimes it really is what's there. Better to be safe than sorry.