RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A suspected child predator, who police said was caught on camera targeting a young girl at a Riverside grocery store, was arrested Thursday with the help of a tipster.
The incident was caught on camera on Feb. 15 at Food 4 Less at 3900 Chicago Avenue.
In a video released by the Riverside Police Department, the suspect was seen motioning a six-year-old girl towards the men’s restroom while she was trying to enter the women’s restroom.
The man, wearing a black T-shirt that said “Planet Fitness,” offered the young girl a treat, but she didn’t take it, detectives said.
On Thursday morning, CBS2’s camera was there when police took Theodore Childers, 78, into custody outside Planet Fitness at 4135 Chicago Avenue, across the street from Food 4 Less.
A gym member named Frank, who didn’t give his last name, said he spotted Childers at the gym and called police.
“At first, it didn’t really register. I was thinking this guy isn’t going to show up today. He’s going to see himself all over television. He’s not going to show up. There’s just no way he’s going to do that. But he did,” Frank recalled.
That was when he dialed 911 before 7 a.m. Thursday. Police showed up soon after and arrested Childers.
“At least I contributed to, at least for the short term, putting someone away. Hopefully, he’ll get his day in court. If he did do it, hopefully, the book is thrown at him,” Frank added. He said he saw Childers at the gym almost everyday.
The six-year-old girl told CBS2’s Crystal Cruz that “I remember that he said: ‘come to the restroom, and I will give you a treat.'”
She said she was at Food 4 Less with her grandmother when Childers approached her.
Childers is expected to be charged with a misdemeanor count of child annoyance.