Police: Questions remain about convicted sex offender found near Huntersville schools

by: Jim Bradley Updated:

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HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. —

Police in Huntersville said they still have questions about a convicted sex offender who was found near two area schools.

Richard Sansone, 20, was arrested Wednesday after walking out of a wooded area across the street from Blythe Elementary and Alexander Middle schools. Police said Sansone and two other men said their car had overheated and they were waiting for it to cool; however, police call their stories inconsistent.

"We don't know what this gentleman was doing near a school but under the terms of the registered sex offender probation he cannot be nearby," said Deputy Chief Michael Kee.

Last year Sansone was arrested and charged with raping a 13-year-old girl. He later pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a minor. Instead of being sent to prison, Sansone was given a suspended sentence and put on probation.

Relatives of students at Blythe and Alexander knew nothing about the arrest when they spoke with Eyewitness News Friday morning.

"He doesn't have any business around here. Absolutely not. With two schools and little kids? No," said Delia Mercado.

Friday afternoon Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools sent a message to the homes of students notifying them of the arrest and letting them know Sansone never came onto either campus.

Huntersville police said they can't say for sure whether Sansone posed a threat to the schools but said he clearly violated the law, which says registered sex offenders can't come within 1,000 feet of a  school.

"We may never know," said Michael Kee, "but we stopped, potentially, something bad from happening."