• Man accused of following family, performing lewd act inside Gastonia store

    By: Ken Lemon


    GASTONIA, N.C. - A woman said a man followed her Tuesday afternoon through the Hamrick’s department store in Gastonia, while he performed a lewd act.

    "I'll be watching over my shoulder at all times," the victim, Joretta Anderson, said.

    She went to Hamrick's with her mother, who is in her 70s, and her 26-year-old niece.

    "It kind of just makes you sick to your stomach to think that there are people out there like that," Anderson said.

    She saw the stranger wearing large sunglasses and a baseball cap pulled down close to his eyes.

    “It was my first time ever seeing him," she said.

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    Moments later, Anderson realized he had his hands in his pants, so the women tried to move away from him.

    "It was very obvious that he was following us at this point," Anderson said. "Everywhere we were going, he was going."

    She said a store security officer ran over to the women.

    The guard saw everything on security cameras before Anderson and her family noticed.

    "They had been watching him with other people, but he was more focused on the two of us," Anderson said.

    Employees tried to corner the man, but he ran outside to a car with no license plate. He stopped to pop the trunk, closed it and left before police arrived.

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