Weather Alerts 1 View »

'You're a stranger!'; Lessons learned from attempted kidnapping at Tucson dollar store

Maggie Vespa

  • Play

Photo: Video by kgun9.com

'You're a stranger!'; Lessons learned from attempted kidnapping at Tucson dollar store

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED May 29, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A man is behind bars, after police say he tried to snatch a little girl.

Even more scary: it turns out, he's a repeat sex-offender.
 
Her mother was just one aisle over.
 
"Oh my gosh, that is so scary!" said one shopper.
 
Sunday afternoon, someone called 9-1-1 from a Dollar Tree near 1st Avenue & Grant, saying a strange man had approached a 9 year-old girl, tickled her, then tried to snatch her.
 
"This is not an area you'd think you would have to be afraid of!" said that shopper.
 
Thankfully, officers say, the girl fought back with fury.
 
"She grabbed the shelf, and began kicking and screaming, and that's what made him release her and run away," said Sgt. Chris Widmer.
 
But he didn't stay away for long.
 
Tuesday, a store employee recognized the repeat customer.
 
Within minutes, police responded and arrested 51 year-old William Schirmer, a homeless, registered sex offender with a level 3 status, meaning he has the highest possible potential to offend again.
 
"The nine year-old did everything right because the nine year-old got away," said Warrior School founder Jeffrey Prather.
 
Prather says predators like Schirmer, can be anywhere.
 
So, your kids need to be prepared.
 
With the help of his longtime student Prather shows us the best ways for kids to wriggle free from an attacker's grip.
 
We see swinging legs, raising arms, and most importantly Sebastian yelled, "You're a stranger! No!"
 
"'You're a stranger' tells everybody really quick in the vicinity, this is not a parent-child dispute," said Prather.
 
And once the child is free, Prather says, run.
 
Fnd a parent.  Find an adult.  Keep yelling.  Keep fighting.
 
They're all life-saving techniques that worked for one little girl.
 
Both Prather and police commend that little girl, saying she did everything right.
 
William Schirmer faces one count each of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping and aggravated assault.