NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Police are looking for a man who reportedly exposed himself to an 11-year-old girl in the parking lot of a local store over the weekend.
The incident occurred about 3 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of the Marc’s store on Center Ridge Road.
Parents of the girl notified police within minutes of the incident, according to police Lt. Greg Petek, commander of the department’s detective bureau.
“Fortunately, the parents were not in the store long, and they called as soon as they found out about it happening,” Petek said.
Police responded within minutes but found no trace of the man, who was described as white, of average build and in his 40s to 50s, wearing a black hat, black shirt and dark sunglasses. The man was also said to have salt-and-pepper-colored hair and a goatee.
Detectives said they believe the man was driving around the parking lot and once he saw the girl waiting in her family’s car, he pulled into a parking spot next to the vehicle.
“What it looks like is that once he located her and saw she was by herself, he targeted her,” Petek said.
The man pulled his vehicle, believed to be a tan and silver two-tone Dodge Caravan or Voyager minivan, into a parking space next to that occupied by the family’s car.
“He opened his door and exposed himself to her,” Petek said. “He was touching himself at the time.”
The girl immediately locked the doors of the vehicle she was in, and the man left the area shortly afterward, police said.
The man never got out of his vehicle or approached the girl, Petek said.
Police have had no reports of similar incidents, but they are checking into reports of similar activity in area communities to see whether there may be a connection, Petek said.
One such incident occurred Monday in Bay Village, where a man tried to entice a 10-year-old girl to get into his car. Police in that case said the man leered at the child and followed her a short distance in his vehicle before leaving the area.
The man in the Bay Village incident was described as approximately 50 years of age, with wavy gray or white hair, and acne scars on his face. He was wearing blue jeans, a red polo-style shirt and round wire-rim glasses.
Bay Village police said the man drove a light blue Dodge Caravan with tinted rear windows.
Bay police also reported having at least five attempted abductions in the past several months, but the man in Monday’s incident never got out of his vehicle or threatened the girl in any way.
“We’re actively seeking tips and any information we can get our hands on,” Petek said.
North Ridgeville police are asking anyone visiting local shopping centers to be on the lookout for a person sitting in a parked vehicle that could match the description of the suspect and/or the suspect vehicle.
Police also hope to obtain a license plate number from the suspect vehicle if it is seen again.
Any information should be reported to North Ridgeville police at (440) 327-2191.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.