Please be extra careful when you're out and about at stores in Longview and Tyler, Texas over the course of the holiday season.

According to thelawmen.net, "The holidays may be the happiest time of the year, but they can also be the most dangerous. Crime increases during the holidays for many reasons, including economic stress and opportunistic circumstances."

We've heard (and shared) many stories regarding scams, increased porch pirating, and out-and-out theft in broad daylight at Texas stores. But there's another crime or would-be crime that is one of the scariest, perhaps especially for women: Stalking.

Almost every woman you know has found herself in a situation with a stalker at least somewhat similar to this one.

 

The stalking began in the parking lot.

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She noticed a man walking by slowly, staring intently into her vehicle through the windows. She was creeped out, of course. However, she proceeded into the store.

Once inside, she walked directly to the shampoo aisle. It wasn't long before she saw, peripherally, someone else turn down that aisle. She scooted closer to the aisle in order to give them plenty of space. The person stopped several feet away from her. But then...

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When she looked around she realized it was the same man she'd seen looking inside her vehicle in the parking lot. Although she didn't want to overreact, she started keeping more of an eye on him.

She continued to stare at the shampoo on the shelves when the man wandered to where she was and knelt down. He pretended to be staring at the shampoo on the bottom shelf.

However, the woman noticed he had his phone, face up on his thigh with the camera open. She noticed he appeared to be trying to position the angle so he could see up her skirt.

Once she fully realized what was happening she immediately left the aisle and headed over to the garden department to let an employee know about the man.

Kudos to the Walmart team who immediately alerted a manager. While they were speaking, the man who'd been stalking her entered the garden area and they noticed he was looking down aisles.

Was the stalked once again looking for her, perhaps? Seems quite likely, based on what happened next.

The manager, along with two other Walmart employees started walking down aisles in an effort to interact with this man. Once the man realized they were seeking to connect with him, he immediately set down whatever item he'd been holding and walked directly out of the store to his vehicle.

Once the police were called, the situation became even more alarming.

After the man left, the Walmart manager recommended the woman call the police to report the situation. Using the surveillance footage, the police were able to identify the man who was confirmed to be a serial offender in this way.

A look at the photos and videos on his phone revealed he'd done this same violating thing he'd sought to do to her. He has now been charged.

So thankful she was able to see what he was doing and take the necessary steps to keep herself safe. Her action may have also prevented this same thing from happening to other East Texas women.

Hey fellow East Texas Women: Moral of the Story?

Please don't be afraid to speak up or take action if you notice someone watching you--particularly if that watching becomes stalking.

As women, we often try to keep the peace or give people the benefit of the doubt. While there's something lovely about that, we have to take steps to protect ourselves. As awkward and unsure as we may feel at the time, often our intuition is warning us about potential danger.

Please be careful. If you've had a stalker experience at any of our Texas stores and would like to share, please send an email to tara.holley@townsquaremedia.com.

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