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Orangeburg chief says be aware of interactions with children | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Chief Charles Austin Sr. is asking the public to be aware of interactions between adults and children following an incident last week.

If suspicious interactions are taking place between adults and children who have no connection, call 911 as soon as possible, Austin said.

The types of incidents “can happen at any time,” he said.

His warning follows an incident that took place around 9 p.m. July 5 at the Dollar General at 1758 Stonewall Jackson Boulevard.

“It’s a scary incident, especially when you consider how close this suspect was in abducting the child. It appears at one point, the child may have tried to follow him,” Austin said.

A store clerk noticed usual behavior from a man who’d just made a purchase.

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She told police the man remained in the store and asked another man near an 11-year-old boy if he was the child’s father.

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The man said he wasn’t the boy’s father and left the store.

The stranger then began to further engage with the 11-year-old, even whispering in the boy’s ear.

He made hand gestures to the boy to follow him out of the store, the clerk said.

The clerk called the boy to the counter so he could purchase the snack he was holding.

The stranger repeatedly offered to pay for the boy’s snack, but the clerk wouldn’t let the stranger do that, the report states.

The boy told the clerk he didn’t know the stranger.

The clerk then asked the boy to step behind the counter so she could get the manager and the boy’s grandmother, who was next door at the laundry washing business.

The stranger attempted to enter the store after he saw the boy and his grandmother leaving.

When the manager told the stranger not to enter the store, the stranger allegedly became “aggressive and argumentative” about not leaving, the clerk said.

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When the clerk told him that police were on the way, the stranger left before officers arrived.

The boy claims the stranger grabbed his arm at one point.

Austin said he commends the clerk’s actions.

“I’m happy for the outcome,” he said.

“It should serve as a reminder to all of us that these types of things can happen,” he added.

“She paid attention to what was going on and called police,” Austin said.

Austin said investigators are reviewing video surveillance captured at the business and cameras set up nearby.

If anyone has information about this incident, they are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or use the Tip411 app or text a tip to 874411. People providing information can remain anonymous.


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