A 7-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in the toy section of the White Plains Walmart on Saturday night, said police, who are searching for the man responsible for the attack before he gets a chance to strike again.
"This isn't a Walmart problem. It's something that can happen anywhere at any time," White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said in an interview Monday. "These predators tend to strike more than once unless they're caught. That's why we really want to get this guy."
According to Chong, the 7-year-old and her mother were in the store for just a few minutes when the girl ran off toward the toy section and was accosted by the man. The incident occurred at 6:48 p.m. Walmart video surveillance shows the alleged attacker entering the store on Main Street at 6:39 p.m.
"When he saw this little girl alone, he pounced," Chong said.
The girl managed to escape the clutches of her attacker and ran toward her mother. The child told her mother what happened and the mother alerted Walmart security, who immediately called police, Chong said.
The girl was not physically injured in the assault, Chong said.
"It's a stark reminder that this can happen anywhere," Chong said. "Again, it shows the importance of having the 'stranger danger' conversation with your children and the necessity to keep your eyes on your children at all times."
Police described the suspect as 20 to 25 years old, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, with a medium build and wearing distinctive neon green high-top sneakers.
"Walmart has been 100 percent cooperative in this investigation," Chong said.
The manager of Walmart's White Plains store declined to comment on the incident Monday. Walmart's media relations representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Police are asking any one with information on the suspect or the incident to call the White Plains Police Department at 914-422-6200 or 914-422-6006. All calls will be kept confidential.
"Someone out there knows who this guy is," Chong said. "We need their help."