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Fresh Thyme shoppers on lookout for possible grocery stalker

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO) — A quick-thinking mom saved her daughter from a possible stalker.

The mother shared the story on social media, which is causing issues for local law enforcement.

A family trip to Fresh Thyme in Terre Haute resulted in chaos.

A mother reported that a strange man started to follow her daughter toward the bathroom, but veered off once he saw the mother start to follow.

The man began pacing and texting on his phone near the bathroom. Then he reportedly tried to run past both parents to get closer to the daughter exiting the restroom.

After being cut off by the mother the man ran to the other side of the store and escaped before police could arrive.

“Anytime you are with your kids you shouldn’t let them wander, you should make sure you have control of them and watch them. Because there are people that are out to look for kids and out to harm them,” Terre Haute Police Department Chief John Plasse.

The mother posted the story to Facebook. It has generated a large response, many comments with false information alleging the suspect committed similar acts at other grocery stores, allegations that both the local police and sheriff’s departments said are false.

“Please call police immediately, don’t post something on Facebook. That is not the answer. Call us so we can get there and respond to it so we can see who it is,” the police chief said.

The incident at Fresh Thyme is confirmed by a store manager and a detective with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office.

Though police don’t think this is a reoccurring incident, they encourage other stores and members of the community to keep an eye out, including other grocers including Baesler’s Market.

“So, we made sure all three stores were aware of the situation that happened at the stores down south,” said Casey Baesler of Baesler’s Market.

The police chief said, “I mean, if they are in the store looking at groceries, whatever, that is perfectly normal. But if they are in the store looking at your child, taking a special interest, trying to talk to them, make small talk, that is not good. If it is somebody that you don’t know, don’t let that happen and report that person to us immediately.”

The Vigo County Sheriff’s Department is looking into the case but did not want to talk about it on camera Monday. They are waiting on surveillance video of the suspect before releasing any more details.

Anyone with any information was encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office directly, not via Facebook.

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