A 61-year-old Galveston man is accused of luring a 6-year-old child into his van with a promise of candy on Tuesday evening and inappropriately touching her, the Galveston Police Department said.
Police credited the swift apprehension and arrest of the man to the actions of a passer-by — a woman who sensed something was wrong after watching the first moments of the encounter between the man and girl while at she was driving by.
John Robert Moore, 61, of Galveston, was charged with two felonies: aggravated kidnapping and indecency with a child/sexual contact, according to a police complaint.
Moore was arrested after a woman called police about a brown minivan that had stopped near a group of children in the 1000 block of Eighth Street about 8 p.m Tuesday, according to the complaint.
The woman said she had watched as a young girl approached the van and spoke with the person inside. The woman told police she had watched as the man touched the girl, according to the complaint.
The woman, who was in her car, initially drove away from the scene, but returned because she was bothered by what she had seen.
When she got back to Eighth Street, she saw the girl in the van with the man. The group of children that the girl had been with said that they did not know the man, and that he had promised the girl candy, according to the complaint.
That’s when the woman called police. The woman had taken a picture of the van and its license plate, which she was able to provide to police.
The van had driven a short distance away. While the woman was still at the scene, it returned and the girl got out of the van. She ran to the woman, and told her that the man was going to hurt her, according to the complaint.
A University of Texas Medical Branch police officer, who was responding to a be-on-the-lookout order, stopped the van in the 1100 block of Eighth Street and arrested the driver.
The girl appeared uninjured, but was take to the University of Texas Medical Branch for evaluation, according to the police department.
Galveston police spokesman Joshua Schirard credited the arrest to the vigilance of community members and the swift actions of police.
“This serves as a reminder to please talk to your children about the dangers of speaking to someone they don’t know,” Schirard said.
Moore was held on $200,000 bond. He was in custody at the Galveston County Jail on Wednesday evening, according to jail records.