HEWITT, Texas (KWTX) A particular sex crime is drawing attention from several local police departments: multiple men have been arrested recently for allegedly exposing themselves at McLennan County Walmart stores.
Police are reminding people to get off their phones when out in public and pay attention to their surroundings.
"You never know what you're going to miss or what you might see," said Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin.
A woman shopping at the Walmart on Sun Valley Blvd. in Hewitt didn't expect, or want to see the lewd act from the man sitting in the car next to hers in mid-July.
"As she continued to get into her vehicle with her family and children, (she) looked over and noticed he actually had his genitals in his hand and was masturbating," said Devlin.
She and another woman called 911, but not before taking photos of the man and his license plate.
"They actually provided us quite a bit of evidence of the offense," said Devlin.
Their documentation proved critical in catching the alleged culprit.
Hewitt police charged Nicholas Medrano, 47, with indecent exposure after Devlin said his detectives were able to match photos to tie him to the crime.
Devlin said Medrano had a skin condition that helped prove he was the one in the car at the time of the offense.
"It was pretty easy to identify who the suspect was especially when they (detectives) made contact with this individual because they could see from the photograph the skin condition was prevalent in the photo," said Devlin.
Medrano was booked into the McLennan County Jail Aug. 29 but was released after posting a $1,000 bond.
This isn't the only recent indecent exposure case at a local Walmart; Waco PD charged Franklin Obiri in late August after he reportedly masturbated on a woman in the checkout line at the store off New Rd.
Obiri was already in jail on Woodway PD charges for a similar, but unrelated incident.
Devlin said it's important to report these types of crimes to prevent them from multiplying and escalating.
"They actually have the potential to turn into sexual assaults and things of that nature," said Devlin. "It's very, very important to get these stopped and get some type of intervention whether that's putting the individual in help or getting psychological help or whatever the court deems needs to be done."
Devlin said citizens can help by gathering as much information as they can when these types of incidents occur, however, only if it is safe to do so.
"You don't know who this person might be, or what they may be doing, or what this may lead to, so it is important for us to intervene and get them shut down and stopped before there is any escalation in these types of offenses," said Devlin.