A teen’s quick actions got her accused predator arrested.
Tuesday, a 15-year-old girl says she was approached by suspect Jerome Northern, 49, at a gas station in Charlotte Harbor, who offered her money for sexual favors.
Wednesday, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office arrested Northern, and he faces a charge for lewd or lascivious conduct.
“It’s just not the same day in age anymore,” Hannah Ridiner said. “You can’t let your babies just go play.”
Charlotte County deputies say Northern was particularly bold. They say he went up to a 15-year-old girl and asked for sex at a Charlotte Harbor convenience store.
“It’s crazy,” Nikki Green said. “You got a protect your kids.”
The girl turned him down flat, while recording the whole thing on her cell phone.
Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said it couldn’t release the video to us, since the investigation is ongoing.
According to the arrest report, deputies say Northern told the teenager he was staying at a nearby hotel. He said he wanted to give her $50 to $60 for sex acts. When she told him she was 15, he said, “So?”
“My reaction was horrified,” Ridiner said. “That he would actually do that in a public place right there in front of people.”
That’s when deputies say the girl flipped the camera toward him and said, “Say hi to the camera.”
“I’m glad she was smart enough to do that,” Ridiner said.
“She was probably raised right,” Green said. “Strangers asked her weird questions.”
Northern remains in custody at Charlotte County Jail with bond set at $250,000.
Parents in the community are on high alert after learning about this activity near their families.
“It definitely makes me want to be more safe and make sure I never take my eyes off of them,” Ridiner said.