MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) – Police charged a man on Wednesday with risk of injury to a minor for allegedly following an 11-year-old girl in Manchester, according to authorities.
Police responded to the Dunkin’ on Center Street around 2 p.m. for the report of a suspicious person. A staff member told police an 11-year-old girl came into the establishment and said she was being followed by an unknown man.
Investigators determined the girl was followed by a man as she walked eastbound on Center Street from Cooper Street. The suspect was later identified as 36-year-old Israel Santiago-Ortiz.
Police said the suspect offered the girl gum and continued to follow her after she crossed the street.
According to police, the suspect asked the girl if he could take her to buy clothes or if she needed help.
According to the arrest warrant, the girl told police she became scared and ran into Dunkin’ for assistance. The girl said she went inside the establishment and sat at a table next to the windows.
Santiago-Ortiz then went onto Dunkin’ property and stood directly outside the window where the child was sitting and looked at her through the glass.
The girl then told the employees she was being followed and needed help.
Dawn Smith, an employee at Dunkin’ witnessed the ordeal and called 911 to help the young girl.
“She was scared you know, he was standing outside the front door and pacing back and forth, watching… to see if she was going to come back out,” Smith said.
Police arrived only a few minutes later and found Santiago-Ortiz on the corner of Center Street and New Street.
“I would hope somebody would do that for my child or my grandchildren actually, I have grandchildren that age and I hope that they would help, I wouldn’t want any of them in that position either,” Smith said.
Police said Santiago Ortiz was charged with risk of injury to a minor and second-degree breach of peace.
Officers determined Santiago-Ortiz has two outstanding warrants for his arrest. Police served the warrants, and he was additionally charged with first-degree failure to appear and second-degree failure to appear.
He is being held on bonds totaling $31,000 and appeared in Manchester Superior Court on Thursday.
News 8 has reached out to Dunkin’ for comment on the incident and is waiting to hear back.