Mall security share public's concern - The Daily Progress: News

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Mall security share public's concern

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Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:36 pm

Officials of the security company that patrols Fashion Square mall say they will review officers’ actions in escorting a man who attempted to abduct a child during post-Thanksgiving shopping off the property.

Alan Stein, of AlliedBarton, said “it is important for mall customers and community members to know that the mall and its security team are committed to their safety” in the wake of the Nov. 24 incident.

He said the company will review the situation to make sure staff is following company procedures.

“Our first priority is safety, especially as it applies to children,” Stein said. “AlliedBarton is dedicated to helping maintain safe and secure environments for all of our clients and their customers.”

Albemarle County police this week released mall surveillance camera pictures of a man for whom they’ve been searching since last Saturday. The images show a black man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

The man is suspected of approaching a 2-year-old girl who was toddling behind her parents, picking her up and then striding away. Her father chased the man, who gave the child up without a fight, said Carter Johnson, Albemarle County police spokeswoman. The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. near Kay Jewel-ers.

Police have turned up no new leads, Johnson said Wednesday.

After responding to the incident, security officers escorted the man off the mall property but never con-tacted police about the incident, officials said. That call came from her parents at about 8 p.m., five hours later.

The delayed notification left authorities pursuing leads with only a thin description of a man standing 6-feet, 3 inches tall and weighing 220 to 235 pounds.

Stein said AlliedBarton officers consulted with the family, which seemed to approve of their efforts.

“Security officers patrolling the mall responded to an incident surrounding a family having an exchange with another patron, and escorted the patron from the property. Our security officers then followed up with the family and they were satisfied with our response and the action taken,” Stein said.

“After learning that the family later reported the incident to the police as a possible attempted abduction, AlliedBarton is reviewing what occurred and the conduct of our officers to ensure that our team is following proper procedures,” Stein said. “We are also providing our full cooperation to the police.”

Joe Bell, a spokesman for Spotsylvania Towne Center, said he believes officers at the Fredericksburg shopping mall would have taken a different approach.

“We have children that are on our property all the time and their parents and we want to assure them that we would not have done it that way,” he said. “It’s really a common sense situation. Even a bystander would have said, ‘Hey, let’s call the cops.’”

Bell noted that most malls in America hire unarmed security forces and that officers “are schooled in the notion that they are liable for the ways they handle customers

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