More reports surface of women being followed

First Posted: 12/11/2009

Incidents of women being followed occurred in Elkin this week similar to cases recently investigated in Mount Airy, according to a police spokesman here.
But so far, no arrest has been reported in a matter that came to light on Dec. 2 when one woman who experienced such an incident circulated an email to numerous parties in order to warn them about an alleged perpetrator.
A copy of the email obtained this week details how the lone woman was followed to Wal-Mart by a man on the night of Nov. 30, then to the Lowes home-improvement store nearly two hours after she left the first business. He also was spotted following another woman who was alone in her vehicle from the Food Lion parking lot in the same shopping center.
The man was described as a white male in his late 40s, who was driving an older-model, red Chevrolet Camaro, according to the woman who sent out the alert. She said in the email that if he hadnt been noticed at Lowes, she fears the man would have followed her home.
Lt. Jim Armbrister of the Mount Airy Police Department said that about six women in all have reported such incidents occurring recently while they were shopping at various locations in the city. No others surfaced here this week, although similar reports have come from Elkin, Armbrister said.
Mount Airy police launched an investigation after receiving numerous emails and calls questioning the validity of the email from the woman followed from Wal-Mart, which she titled scary incident. After pursuing various complaints received about the unknown individual described in her email, the department announced that based on interviews, witnesses and information obtained so far, no crime had occurred.
Armbrister later clarified the announcement to indicate that the activity described to officers did actually occur. But based on evidence available at the time of the investigation, it fell short of what was needed to charge the subject.
Thats despite the license number of the suspect vehicle being obtained after the woman who circulated the email was followed, which was forwarded that night to a patrolman parked along U.S. 601. However, the police spokesman explained that officers simply have not had enough to go on as far as pressing charges.
Yet Armbrister stressed that this does not mean there was no criminal intent involved, and warned that local women should be aware of their surroundings in order to prevent such an occurrence from escalating into something more.
Citizens need to be aware and cautious of any such events occurring to them and take measures to prevent themselves from becoming victims, he added.
Officers have warned citizens to always be aware of their surroundings, particularly during the hectic holiday season. Awareness of being followed in stores or parking lots and any other suspicious activity should be immediately reported to police, they advised.
It has been suggested that anyone who believes they might be experiencing such a problem, in a store, for example, should go to the management or other individuals who can offer immediate security while authorities are contacted.
Someone who is being followed is advised not to go home, but to the police department, or seek the attention of any officer who might be nearby.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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