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Store Employees Merit High Praise

November 8, 2012
By The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

While many people were preoccupied with the then-upcoming election on Sunday, alert employees at a store at The Highlands were paying attention to children they worried might be in peril.

As we have reported, the Ohio County Sheriff's Department arrested a Pennsylvania man Sunday afternoon, on charges of entering without breaking and stalking.

Store employees told deputies they observed the man follow young boys who were alone into the men's restroom. It happened three or four times. Employees went into the restroom and saw the man watching the children. One observed as the suspect stood at a urinal and looked over the partition at a boy's genitals.

Deputies arrested the man and reviewed videotape of his behavior. Later, according to the sheriff's department, the suspect admitted what store employees had reported was true. He also told a deputy he had served time in an Idaho prison for a sex crime involving a child.

What might have happened had the store's employees not been observing, then intervened? No one can say with certainty, but speculation concerning the outcome is not pleasant.

Good for the store's employees for doing what they did. And good for them for alerting law enforcement rather than merely telling the man to get out. What they did took a certain amount of courage and concern, and for that, they have earned the gratitude not just of the involved boys' parents, but of the entire community.

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