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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Police Search for Man Who Assaulted Girl in Target

Aired July 14, 2003 - 19:11   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Want to give you a follow-up right now to a story we've been covering all day.
Right now police still need your help. They're trying to track down the man who turned an 11-year-old girl's shopping trip into a harrowing sexual attack.

Now there have been hundreds of tips given to investigators so far about what happened over the weekend in a West Virginia Target store. Some of it was seen by surveillance cameras. Still there has been no arrest at this moment.

Mike brooks is in Atlanta with more on this still developing case.

Mike, what can you tell us?

MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've been looking that this all day, Anderson. Very disturbing case of an 11-year-old girl that was approached and stalked -- first stalked, then approached -- by a man who assaulted her. First abused her, then assaulted her in two different departments of a Target department store in South Charleston, West Virginia.

The video we see here, Anderson, shows the man, as police describe, dragging her down the aisle. Now he is coming from the seasonal, the patio section, taking her to the men's department. He had just abused her and now he was taking her to the department, the men's department to again assault her there in the Target department.

Now, we saw other video earlier in the day that showed him actually, as police describe, standing across from her, stalking her, as we see right here, Anderson. He's described as a white male, 5'8" to 5'9", 200 pounds with sandy brown hair.

Now the little girl is just out of sight here, but police said that when -- in this particular video, he's actually stalking her, then goes around and goes back to encounter her when she gets by herself.

Now we just heard from our affiliate, WFAZ, in Charleston, West Virginia, Anderson, that a similar case to this occurred on Friday evening at a Wal-mart store in Ashland, Kentucky.

Now the ruse was the same in that case as it was in the Target case, which we just saw, where the man said he was a security guard. And in Ashland, Kentucky, case we heard about, he went up to the little girl, said we caught you stealing something on video camera, and started to pat her down. She ran away and went back to her parents.

The other girl in South Charleston, West Virginia, was not that lucky -- Anderson.

COOPER: You know, Mike, this sort of jives with what we were hearing earlier in the day, what sources were telling you, that police sort of felt like maybe there was some sort of a pattern here, that this is a person they believed had some sort of a criminal record.

BROOKS: Well, for the most part, sex offenders like this, Anderson, do not usually do this the first time. They usually, many of them are recidivists. Right now in that county that South Charleston is located in, Kanawha County, there are 223 people on the West Virginia State Police sex offender registry. Just in that one county.

Now law enforcement officers, investigators are going over that list to see if there's any connection with anyone on that registry with this particular case.

I just spoke with South Charleston police. They're also looking at the Ashland, Kentucky, case to see if that is also linked. The description in both cases are very similar also.

COOPER: And just a sickening story no matter how you look at it. Mike Brooks, appreciate the update.

We're just going to put that on the screen again for our viewers, the tip line, police are looking for this person right now: 1-304-744- 4666. If you have any information whatsoever, please give them a call.

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