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Man in Crown Books store bathroom allegedly preyed on boy

June 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities allege a man preyed on a 7-year-old boy inside the bathroom at a Crown Books store in Rancho Santa Margarita on Wednesday night.

The incident happened around 8:15 p.m. after the boy entered a bathroom stall.

"He went to the restroom in a stall, a man in an adjoining stall went underneath, put half his body underneath and either attempted to grab his legs or grabbed his legs," said Jim Amormino with the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators say the traumatized boy believed the man was trying to pull him into his stall until the child managed to escape. He ran out into the store and told his parents.

"A family member did see a person matching the description of the suspect leaving the store in a hurry," said Amormino.

The suspect is described as an African American man in his 50s, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall and 180 pounds. He has short black hair and a moustache. He was wearing a blue and white shirt and dark pants. Police are looking through registered sex offenders in the area to see if any of them match the description.

The incident has put many residents on edge.

"It's very much a family place and that's one of the things that makes us sad is because we always feel that sense of security living here," said Rancho Santa Margarita resident Sabrina Medrano. "Knowing that something like that happened, it makes you think twice."

Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has other useful information should call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.

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