Sanford man accused of touching, hugging children at Cary bus stops

Felipe Lopez de la Cruz (Raleigh-Wake CCBI)

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — A Sanford man is facing indecent liberties charges after Cary police say he hugged and inappropriately touched children at a bus stop over the course of more than a week.

Felipe Lopez de la Cruz, 32, is accused of touching and hugging at least four children at Cary bus stops between Oct. 2 and Oct. 11.

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The 32-year-old has been charged with four counts of taking indecent liberties with a child and also faces a charge of driving without a license, police said.

An undercover operation conducted by Cary police at bus stops located in a neighborhood on Kildaire Farm Road over the course of several mornings resulted in de la Cruz’s arrest.

Police set up the operation after multiple students told resource officers at their schools that they had seen a man hugging other kids on several other days.

Cary police officers arrested de la Cruz around 7:30 a.m. Friday in the 1300 block of Kildaire Farm Road.

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Police say that the suspect touched one child on Oct. 2, two on Oct. 4 and one on Oct. 11. The case is still being investigated. It’s believed that de la Cruz did not go to Cary bus stops every morning.

It’s unclear the ages of the children touched by de la Cruz. Police did confirm that at least one report to a school resource officer was made at a high school.

Several parents and students at Cary High School told CBS North Carolina they’ve begun driving to school instead of taking the bus.

“Because, that’s like a parent’s worst fear,” said Tirika Carson, a parent in Cary. “That’s nothing I want to hear about or even have to worry about.”

“It’s really dark out here in the morning, so you can’t really see who’s out here,” said her daughter, Qualia Carson. “It’s creepy, and it’s kind of disturbing.”

Qualia said she and her friends had heard last week that someone was touching children inappropriately.

“Just be aware of your surroundings. That’s the whole point. Just be aware. Watch every move. Listen,” she said.

De la Cruz is being held in the Wake County Detention Center under a $300,750 bond.

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