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    Lutz man accused of groping 10-year-old

    Authorities say the man approached the boy in Wal-Mart and pawed him. The boy's father intervened.

    By JULIE CHURCH

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published July 13, 2001


    PALM HARBOR -- Pinellas County sheriff's detectives Wednesday charged a 38-year-old Lutz man with approaching a 10-year-old in the toy department at Wal-Mart, then touching the boy under his shirt and pulling at his pants.

    Brian Wayne Bradford, 17751 Jamestown Way, No. D, was charged with lewd and lascivious conduct on a person under 16.

    Bradford approached the boy, who was shopping May 6 with his father and sister at Wal-Mart, 35404 U.S. 19 N, according to an arrest report.

    Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Greg Tita gave this account of the incident: Bradford allegedly touched the boy on his stomach. He asked the boy what size clothes he wore and asked to look at the tags inside his shorts. Bradford then pulled at the boy's shorts to expose his genitals.

    When the boy's father confronted him, Bradford fled, Tita said. Witnesses were able to provide detectives with the license tag number of the car in which Bradford left the parking lot.

    Over the course of a two-month investigation which utilized surveillance films from the store and a photo lineup, detectives were able to identify Bradford as the suspect, Tita said.

    According to the arrest report, Bradford was charged with a sexual offense on a juvenile in 1982 in Kansas. No other details on that case were available Thursday.

    Bradford was held Thursday at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

    -- Times researchers Kitty Bennett and Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Staff writer Julie Church can be reached at (727) 445-4229.

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