Elderly man accused of accosting women

OKEECHOBEE — A 73-year-old Okeechobee man is being held on bond in the county jail on a misdemeanor trespass charge, even though he may present a danger to women.

Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) reports indicate deputies have dealt with this Kentucky native at least five times. Several of those incidents are of a sexual nature against women.

However, even though he reached through an open car window and groped a woman’s breasts on one occasion, none of the women have filed charges against him.

OCSO reports also show the majority of the man’s improprieties have occurred at Lock 7. He was trespassed from the county park, but ignored the deputy’s warning and later returned to the park which led to his Tuesday, March 22, arrest for trespassing after warning.

He was booked into the Okeechobee County Jail and is currently being held there on a $500 bond.

Local deputies had their first dealings with the man Sept. 20, 2014, when he walked into the Texaco station at 4993 U.S. 441 S. and reportedly asked a 27-year-old female clerk for sex, stated a report by OCSO Deputy Steven Pollock.

“She advised me an older white male came into the store and asked her for sex. She told him he was making her feel uncomfortable and at this time he left the store,” stated the deputy’s report.

Deputy Pollock stated he later found the silver-haired man and told him he was trespassed from that store.

On Sept. 30, 2014, Deputy Kristen Gray responded to Lock 7 where she met up with a 36-year-old woman. She told the deputy she was at the pier around 3:28 p.m. when a silver-haired man approached her and started complimenting her.

She walked away from him, but he apparently followed her to her car. When she got into her car, the man reached in and grabbed her breasts, continued the report. The woman tried to pull away but he leaned in further and tried several times to kiss her, stated Deputy Gray.

The woman pushed him away and closed her car door.

She reportedly told the deputy the man has also followed her on numerous occasions.

Deputy Gray’s report stated the man left and got into a silver truck and drove away. The woman did not get the license tag number.

But on Oct. 7, 2014, that same woman again called the sheriff’s office and said she was approached by the same man, indicated a report by Deputy Corporal Don Ellis.

In his report he noted that the woman was at Lock 7 at 2:30 p.m. when the same man walked up to her and asked her to go on a date with him.

She declined the invitation. Still, he persisted until he apparently grew tired of being told “no” and left. This time, the woman jotted down the tag number of the man’s vehicle, but it turned out to be rented.

“There was no other information about the person obtained at this time. (The woman) stated she did not want to press charges, but did want the man spoken to by law enforcement,” stated Cpl. Ellis.

Two hours later that same day, OCSO Deputy Matt Crawford responded to Lock 7 when the man returned and the woman who did not want to file charges earlier again called the sheriff’s office.

“I just want the man to leave me alone and stop following me,” she reportedly told Deputy Crawford.

The deputy walked up to the man and told him he was trespassed from the park and if he returned he would be arrested for trespass after warning.

That seemed to have stopped the complaints against the elderly man. That is, until Tuesday.

Again, it was Cpl. Ellis who went to the park at 1:15 p.m. to meet with a 26-year-old woman. The woman told the deputy she brings her children to the park daily to let them play.

She went on to say an elderly man pulls up next to her every day and starts mumbling something under his breath, and he reportedly tries to block her vehicle.

“She said he has even followed her to her house before and is sure he knows where she lives,” stated the deputy’s report. “She said she is afraid he will do something to her or her children.”

The woman then told Cpl. Ellis she just wanted to file a report.

But because the man had already been trespassed from Lock 7, Cpl. Ellis placed him under arrest.

If you feel threatened or need the help of law enforcement, do not hesitate to call. The sheriff’s office can be reached at 863-763-3117, while the Okeechobee City Police Department’s number is 863-763-5521.

Editor’s note: The man’s name was not included in this story because the women did not press charges.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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