Tracking the Lewd Caller

Last Friday evening, someone called the Fred Meyer in East Bremerton posing as a Seattle radio station who was giving away a $200 Barbie Doll.

To redeem the doll, all employees of the store had to do was hand the phone off to a girl in the toy section.

When they obliged and gave the phone to a 12-year-old Poulsbo girl, the man began describing sexual acts. She disconnected the phone when she realized what was happening.

We reported the incident in Code 911 Sunday (see the report here). But reader Deborah Johnson of Poulsbo pointed out to me that this isn’t the first time this has happened in Kitsap.

In fact, it’s not the first time it’s happened at the exact same store.

According to the sheriff’s office, deputies had previously responded to the Fred Meyer in South Kitsap March 27, where a 9-year-old boy had been requested by a caller posing by none other than a Seattle radio station.

The boy, too, hung up when he figured out the man was telling him lewd stories.

Then, on Aug. 13, the same store had another call with the exact same details. But management had caught on to it, and attempted to keep the caller on the line long enough to track the call.

They were unsuccessful.

On Oct. 8, the call came again. Though store management had kept any children from being victimized, they were again unable to track the call.

Then on Dec. 23, the same trick was used at a Fred Meyer in East Bremerton. Store officials may have been unaware of the previous incidents, handing the phone off to the 12-year-old.

However, law enforcement is very aware of the problem, said Scott Wilson, Kitsap Sheriff’s Spokesman. He said Fred Meyer stores regionally have reported this problem — and possibly other stores have as well.

“In addition to what’s happened in Kitsap, they’ve learned that other law enforcement that this same crime has been perpetuated in Western Washington,” Wilson said.

An effort to nab the culprit is under way, Wilson said, but details aren’t for the public.

“We have our investigative methods,” Wilson said. “But we don’t give out the play book Saturday before the game on Sunday.”

Should someone be caught, they could be charged with many counts of harassment and/or communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, Wilson said.

One thought on “Tracking the Lewd Caller

  1. What I don’t understand is the huge disconnect that this story has shown. I read this same story about a year ago in the Kitsap Sun, pretty much word-for-word, about the same incident that happened in a Fred Meyer store. When this same story showed up recently in the Kitsap Sun in December 05, I was stunned that the story did not mention that this incident was a repeat incident and had happened the same exact way in Fred Meyer about a year ago. The next day I called the Kitsap Sun and spoke with Josh Farley about my experience with this story. I asked him if other readers had called in about the repeat story. He said no. I asked him if other Kitsap Sun staff members had mentioned it. He said no. I asked if the police representative had mentioned it. He said no. Josh said he was going to further speak with the police about this. I spoke again with Josh after his conversation with the police and he informed me that there had been other nearly identical incidents–at least 4. So, we have 4 incidents (2 of them at Fred Meyer stores), and at least 2 accounts reported in the Kitsap Sun, yet, no other Sun readers, no other Sun staff members, no police representatives, no management store personnel, no Kitsap parents of young children shopping in Fred Meyer or other stores, have apparently read or passed this story or warning along to others, so that more young children do not have to be handed a phone by an uninformed store clerk, and have to experience some whacko’s sick joke. Where is the accountability here?

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