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Fisherman's Hat Tips Cops Off to Sex Offender

The man who allegedly inappropriately touched a girl at Barnes and Noble book store in San Mateo recently, is suspected in committing other crimes against children.

By Bay City News

The man police say lured a girl into an isolated part of a San Mateo Barnes and Noble book store this summer to expose himself and inappropriately touch her has been arrested and stands accused of other crimes involving children, law enforcement agencies announced this week in a joint community alert.
           
A multi-agency collaborative resulted in the arrest of 70-year-old registered sex offender Christopher Miller, who also allegedly exposed himself to young children in Union City and at finally at a Mountain View Walmart, the case that led to the suspect's capture, San Mateo Sgt. Dave Norris said today.
           
"All three police agencies are thrilled to see this suspect off the street and unable to cause further harm to children," Norris said. "We are also relieved that it appears this will bring some degree of closure to victims and their families."
           
San Mateo police had been on the lookout for a suspect matching
Miller's description, one unique identifying feature was the fisherman's hat
he was allegedly wearing in all the incidents.
           
The San Mateo incident occurred around 3 p.m. June 23 when Miller
allegedly lured a 10-year-old girl from her family in the main part of the
bookstore to a secluded portion of the store near the bathrooms, surveillance
video captured. It was there, police said, that Miller allegedly exposed
himself and touched the girl inappropriately.
           
About one month later on July 25, at around 4:30 p.m., a man matching the description broadcast in the San Mateo incident exposed himself
to a mother and three young girls at a Burger King restaurant on Alvarado
Niles Road in Union City.
           
The two agencies then began working together in hopes of identifying a suspect.
         
It wasn't until Sept. 7 that police received a tip from a Walmart employee who called police to report an incident where Miller allegedly began touching himself while staring at two young girls. Mountain View police said the girls' mother shouted at Miller and then reported the incident to a store employee, who was able to get a description of his getaway vehicle and license plate number.
           
Mountain View police contacted San Mateo and Union City police departments and each have identified Miller as the suspect in each of the crimes. Miller was allegedly wearing his fisherman's hat in all three incidents.
           
The multi-jurisdiction case is not only a win for victims, Norris said, but also a good warning for criminals.
           
He said that the San Mateo Police Department, along with many other regional agencies, use an information sharing network known as APBnet. The network allows all agencies to see information fliers with images of suspects yet identified, suspects arrested, missing persons and other significant officer safety information. The information is sent out to many agencies, greatly enhancing law enforcement to share information and protect the communities it serves.
           
"Gone are the days when criminal suspects could avoid identification and capture by simply changing locations," Norris said. "The 'net' that police officers can cast to catch these criminals in now a 'network' -- it is wide, virtual and as fast-moving as social media," he warns.
           
Miller is in custody in the Santa Clara County Jail on charges of annoying or molesting a child under 18 with a prior conviction. He is being held under $1 million and is next due in court on Oct. 4.
           
According to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, each county's district attorney's office will have to prosecute Miller separately. Wagstaffe said his office has received police reports, but won't begin its investigation until Miller is finished facing charges in Santa Clara County.

Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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