Seminole County deputies have arrested a 72-year-old Sanford man, accused of groping a 4-year-old girl in the checkout line at a BJ’s Wholesale Club store near Sanford on Sunday.
James Russell Martin was being held without bond at the Seminole County Jail. He’s accused of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12. According to his arrest report, a mother and her 4-year-old daughter were in the self-serve checkout line at the BJ’s near Sanford on Sunday. The girl was in the child’s seat in the shopping cart.
A stranger in a Hawaiian shirt — Martin — then walked up, stroked her hair and shoulder and said, “Aren’t you pretty. What aisle can I find you on?” according to his arrest report.
The mother moved between him and the child, according to the report, but he reached around her, and touched the child’s crotch through her clothes.
The mother told the man to leave her daughter alone, according to the report. He said, ” ‘You have to watch out for those crazy people out there,’ ” then left, the report said.
The mother spotted his van in the parking lot, got its tag number and contacted the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies looked at a store video, verified the event, identified Martin on the video after comparing it to a still photo on file with the state.
They went to his home on New York Street in Sanford, found him sleeping on a couch, woke him up, questioned him and arrested him.
The arresting officer, Officer Bryan S. Brown, characterized the incident as alcohol-related.
No one picked up the phone at Martin’s home this afternoon.