Mall suspect: Police release security pix of Mall grabber

The foiled attempt to snatch a two-year-old girl sent a community into tumult after it was revealed that a rented security guard let the alleged kidnapper go.  The man was caught on a security camera, according to the Albemarle Police Department, which released two photographs.

The grainy images, released last Tuesday evening, show a tall man walking past a jewelry counter on the afternoon of Saturday, November 24. A prior release indicated that police were looking for a light-skinned, glasses-wearing black male approximately 6'3" tall and weighing between 220 and 235 pounds.

They say he grabbed the girl at Charlottesville Fashion Square but was quickly chased down by the girl's father and then– inexplicably– escorted off the property by security instead of being charged with a felony count of attempted abduction, which is how police now characterize the incident.

Parents and security experts have criticized how the situation was handled, and Fashion Square owner Simon Properties has thus far declined to address the criticism levied at the Pennsylvania-based security firm, AlliedBarton, that it pays to patrol the mall.

Further criticism has erupted over allegations not only of official silence but of outright deleting criticism and questions from the mall's Facebook page. A parent and public relations expert slammed the sanitized Facebook page as a blunder that would compound terror, according to a story in the Daily Progress.

Read more on: fashion square mall


Perhaps it's time to "visit" the allied page on Facebook.

What is a 'rented security guard" and is it a 'blunder compounding a terror' or compounding an error?

I thought the Albemarle County Police had an office/sub-station at the mall? I would have escorted the punk right to them...

You know what speaks volumes about that surveillance photo? It is the Saturday after Tgiving, mid-afternoon. Look how empty the mall is.
Now, as for Eric Assteroid, if any strange man touched my 2-year-old without my supervision or in a hostile manner, I'd be on 911 immediately. I just am amazed that the parents "assumed" the mall was detaining the man and/or calling police, and that the dad did not wait for police to show up.

R.I.P.: John Wayne Gacy

@shempdaddy: I wrote "rented security guard" because the guard was not employed by Simon but instead by a contractor. As for blunder compounding a terror, perhaps I should have written "two blunders" (1--letting the man go and 2--deleting Facebook comments) compounding the terror of the alleged attempted abduction.--hawes spencer

The parents shouldn't be criticized, apparently they were walking with their child and it was the father who chased this perp down. Other reports state that the parents were the ones that originally contacted Albemarle County Police to give their information. They were probably in shock over this incident and trusted that "Mall Security" would do as they were supposed to do, not let the dude go!

I for one am sorry that the Mall and the Security Company have made this harder for the Albemarle County Police Department and our community. We now have an obviously brazen child abductor out there who may just strike again and next time, it may not end as well as this time.

Also - this "Mall Security" is to do "rounds" - why they scan their cards at locations in front of curtain main stores there. They have been observed, cutting this by scanning, going out to their "truck". Driving to the next store, scanning and so on. That sort of thing has gone on for years there.

until fashion square invests a bit of money in better security guards and more surveillance cameras (to bolster the ONE they appear to have), i will not be spending any more time or money there.

He did that while I saw, a little guy like that would have been happy to see the police arrive after I held him for a bit. Just wish the guy would have stopped slipping on the floor where my coffee spilled and hitting his head on the marble.

Really, where is a guy in a Gran Torino when you need him?

How come charlottesville police are on patrol at Barracks Road shopping Center(at least the bike cops are) but Fashion Square subs that out? Barracks Road may also have private security, though I have not noticed them. Albemarle Police may also be on duty at Fashion Square, but I have not seen them there either. In any event, any place with that many members of the public and that much merchandise would be a good spot for both public and private security.

There is no excuse for the blunder by the mall security--but you get what you pay for in those cases and my guess is that the mall police will be undergoing some more extensive retraining in the very near future.

People still go to Fashion Square? I stopped going after The Original Cookie closed.

perhaps theses were paperless parents............... who knows- but they should be talking to EVERYONE about this BS

go get 'em Courtney

This security camera still isn't even from the mall's cameras if they have them. This is from Zales. Just so you all know this - the stores there rent the space, have to maintain their own heating and cooling, security etc. Belk and other stores may also have "loss prevention" on duty - plain clothes. This incident happened in the "court yard" as described of the mall.

Simon does nothing to maintain the spaces there at all but rents them out at an insane amount, why do you think there are nothing but large businesses in there now?

Regarding Charlottesville Fashion Square Mall Situation:

A concerning situation recently occurred at the Charlottesville Fashion Square Mall and it is important for mall customers and community members to know that the mall and its security team are committed to their safety.
AlliedBarton security officers patrolling the mall responded to an incident surrounding a family having an exchange with another patron, and escorted the patron from the property. Our security officers then followed up with the family and they were satisfied with our response and the action taken.
After learning that the family later reported the incident to the police as a possible attempted abduction, AlliedBarton is reviewing what occurred and the conduct of our officers to ensure that our team is following proper procedures. We are also providing our full cooperation to the police.
We understand and share the concern that all parents have for their children. Our first priority is safety, especially as it applies to children. AlliedBarton is dedicated to helping maintain safe and secure environments for all of our clients and their customers.

There are two sides to every story, as told above. Its trying to decide which one is true, or just wait for a 3rd story....

I agree. But this is a total different scenario than what the police department's actions infer. My guess is the real story is somewhere in the middle of the two. But I'm glad to see someone step forward and make a real statement.

I read (or heard) that the parents were walking ahead of the child. WHAT? This proves that this kind of person (the perp) preys on the PARENTS that do not watch their kids. He watched those parents NOT WATCHING their own kid. WATCH YOUR KIDS!!