Assault at Town and Country shopping plaza
MISHAWAKA, Ind.-- Mishawaka's special victims unit is searching for a suspect accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. It happened Wednesday afternoon at the Town and Country shopping complex. The teen says a driver called him over and then reached into his shorts and fondled him.
Police could not comment directly on the case since it is still under investigation, but Lt. Tim Williams could speak to overall safety.
"We should always think if someone's in a car and they're waving us over to talk to us-- why are they asking us to come over there?" said Lt. Tim Williams, public information officer, Mishawaka Police Department.
Officer Williams says stranger danger isn't just for little kids.
"Stranger danger- when we hear the word everyone thinks of small children, but it shouldn't be just used for small children. It should be children of any age and even young adults."
Williams says use the fact you're in a public place to your advantage.
"Lets say you make the choice to go over to the car and the person grabs you, I want you to make as much noise as possible. I want you to scream, I want you to draw attention to yourself."
Cameras are located inside the shopping plaza's stores, however no cameras are positioned to capture actions done on the outside of the building. The telephone pole nearest to the location of the incident is equipped only with speakers to play the radio.
"When you have a situation where you have a huge parking lot like this- a huge shopping area, you should really take steps to protect your customers," said Tara Kenjockety, regularly shops at Town and Country. "I mean why would people shop somewhere if they don't even feel safe?"
ABC 57 spoke with the plaza's management on the phone. He didn't know the incident even happened, but said he is taking steps to protect his customers. A security guard sits outside Dunham's nine-to-five all week long, and management hired weekend and overnight guards to patrol the area. Police officers patrol as well.
"It just happens that we're in marked cars a lot of times and people that want to do things that are bad are going to wait until we're out of the area or turned the corner," said Williams.