Monday, May 13, 2013
Police: former Penndel man tried to "lure" girl at restaurant with promise of a doll
Posted: Sunday, May 5, 2013
First, the stranger asked the little girl who she was with at the restaurant. Later, he followed her outside and offered her a doll that he stashed in the hallway.
But only if the girl promised that she wouldn’t tell anyone. She did – her dad. He told the restaurant manager, who notified Pennsylvania State Police.
Now a 61-year-old former Penndel man is in Bucks County prison charged with two counts of luring a child, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable to up to five years in prison.
State police say the incident happened April 27 at the Irish Rover Station House in Langhorne Manor when a man, his 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, and two friends arrived at the restaurant.
While they were waiting in the lobby to be seated, the father noticed a man — identified as Frank Sherman, who also listed an address in Holland — staring at his children, according to police.
Sherman, who was seated at the bar, asked the children who they were at the restaurant with, police said.
“Do you want a doll?” Sherman asked the girl, according to a probable cause affidavit.
After the group was told they could seat themselves, they sat at a table at the opposite end of the restaurant from the bar area, where Sherman was sitting, police said. But his apparent interest in the girl didn’t wane, police said.
He continued “smiling” and “waving” at the girl, according to the affidavit.
When the children asked if they could go outside to the restaurant’s patio area, the father agreed, but told them to stay together, police said. As the kids walked toward the patio entrance, police say, Sherman immediately followed them outside.
“Sherman lit a cigarette and approached (the girl) and asked if she wanted a doll that he had in a hallway, and not to tell anyone what he said,” according to the affidavit.
The girl immediately ran back inside the restaurant and told her father. Meanwhile, Sherman returned to his seat at the bar, where he continued to stare at the girl, police said.
That is when one of the father’s friends confronted Sherman. The man told Sherman to face the other way, court documents said.
At some point, the girl had to use the bathroom. Her father told her brother to walk with her, but instead the girl grabbed her dad’s cell phone off the table and ran toward the bathroom, a path that took her past Sherman. Again, Sherman followed the girl, police said.
The father’s friend saw Sherman follow the girl, and he and the father immediately started following him; Sherman then circled around the women’s restroom and left the restaurant, police said.
Moments later, the girl left the bathroom and the three returned to their table, where they notified staff and management of what happened.
In the meantime, Sherman returned to his seat at the bar, where police say he started staring at another young girl. The manager approached him and told him to leave.
“The defendant did not argue or ask why he had to leave and attempted to take another sip of his beer,” according to the affidavit.
The manager escorted Sherman to the front door and watched him walk south on Bellevue Avenue toward Penndel.
On Monday, a Pennsylvania State police trooper investigating the incident spoke with the restaurant owner who identified the suspect as “Frank.” She told the trooper that he lived in a Penndel boarding house about 200 yards from the restaurant, but that he planned to move to Arizona on Tuesday, court documents said.
About 30 minutes later, the trooper met with the boarding house manager who told him that Sherman had abruptly moved out. He had left 10 minutes before the trooper arrived, in such a hurry he didn’t ask for his $160 security deposit, police said.
On Thursday, state police issued an arrest warrant for Sherman and state troopers received information Friday that he was in the Newtown area. After a three-hour search he was taken into custody by state troopers and Newtown police, police said.
Sherman was arrested and arraigned Friday afternoon before Penndel District Judge Daniel Baranoski, who set his bail at $750,000 cash.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: jciavaglia@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia