NC mom on edge after man approaches son, offers him money to leave store with him

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (WBTV) – A mother from China Grove says she had a frightening experience when a stranger approached her child in the Family Dollar in China Grove on Monday afternoon.

Shena Smothers (Dave Whisenant/WBTV)

“I noticed a man was following us around,” Shena Smothers told WBTV. “He kept coming down the toy aisle where we were and I was a little nervous about that.”

After a few minutes Shena and her 8-year-old son went to the register to pay. That’s when the man approached them.

I had just approached the register and he approached and my son was standing like right behind me and he just came up to us and he asked my child, he leaned down and I think he kind of wanted to shake his hand but my child was kind of timid, he wasn’t going to do that…then said that he had a black friend in the car and he wanted to know if he wants to be their friend and he wanted to know if he wanted to come with him. I looked at the lady at the register and I kind of jerked my child in front of me, kind of smashed him between me and the register, and I got my money and instead of leaving I was kind of paranoid about him following me to my vehicle, I went to the makeup aisle and I told my son, I was like, ‘We’re just going to stand here for a minute until he leaves.’ Well, he came and found us again and offered my child some money. I took the money from the man’s hand and the man left the store and I gave the money to the cashier and I told her that I didn’t want it.”

Smothers said that as she was leaving the store she noticed that the man got inside a Crown taxi cab.

Once Smothers got home she called China Grove police. Officers are investigating the incident.

“It was a very scary situation, we got out of there as fast as we could,” Smothers added.

The incident has upset Shena’s son.

“He’s shaken up by it,” Smothers said. “Last night he woke up at four in the morning saying he kept seeing creepy things when he closed his eyes.”

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In Mooresville a woman reported a similar incident to police, though the descriptions of the men are different.

“I do not even want to write this post, but I feel people need to be warned,” the woman posted on social media. “This evening (child’s name) and I were followed by a man. He first started following her at Dick’s. He then followed her at Target where he at one point grabbed her. (Child) knew what to do and screamed. The man is white with sandy blonde hair, wearing a white tennis cap, white shirt, and tan khakis. As soon as I saw him my instinct told me something was off. The stores are handling this properly.”

A spokesperson with the Town of Mooresville confirmed that police are investigating that report.

Smothers says she does not know why the man approached her child, but that it should serve as a reminder that parents should keep their children in sight at all times.

“I was just really freaked out,” Smothers said. “I was just trying to act fast and keep my child as close as possible.”

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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