Mother Speaks Out After Man Lures Child With Candy, Kisses Her At Store

Authorities worry the man may have targeted children at the store before.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A mother says a pervert pretending to be a Winn-Dixie employee took advantage of her daughter. Willard Shepard has the story in an NBC 6 exclusive.

    A mother is issuing a warning to other Northwest Miami Dade parents after authorities say a man posing a Winn-Dixie grocery store worker used candy to attract her daughter and then kissed the child on the mouth.

    Troy Pitchford, 63, has been charged with lewd and lascivious on a child following an incident that was caught on camera at the Winn-Dixie store on NW 110th Street and NW 7th Avenue.

    The mother of five, who NBC 6 is not identifying to protect the family, says she lost track of her 4-year-old just for a few moments as she headed toward the store register on a recent shopping trip.

    "When she came back she told her sister that man just kissed me on my mouth. I just stopped everything I was doing to go look for that man," the mother said in an exclusive interview. "When I approached him. I asked him, 'Why would you kiss my child?'"

    The Miami Dade Police Department, which reviewed surveillance video and interviewed the girl, said the man kissed the child "with a closed mouth."

    "This unit did observe... (the child) wiping her mouth with her shirt as soon as she left the area where the alleged assault occurred," the department said.

    Pitchford has visited the same Winn Dixie on several occasions and police are now concerned that there could be additional victims.

    "When everything happened I felt like he has done this before," the mother said. "Because he had to be comfortable enough to kiss my daughter in front of a store full of people."

    Efforts to reach Pitchford at his home and by phone were unsuccessful. Winn-Dixie declined to comment, except to say the store is cooprating with police.

    Anyone with information or concerns that their child was approached by the man is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.