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Man cleared of stalking accusation in Port Charlotte store

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Posted at 2:49 PM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 14:52:12-04

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Detective have spoken to and cleared a man accused of following children around a Target store this past weekend.

According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, a mother contacted them on Saturday to report a suspicious incident involving her children at the Target in Port Charlotte.

The mother says an unknown male was following her and her children through the toy aisles and engaging the children in small talk about the toys.

The mother told the man to leave them alone and had store staff escort the family outside.

The mother posted about the incident on social media, and two other people claimed the same thing happened to them.

On Wednesday, detectives reviewed security video of the incident and found no evidence the man was following the children.  Store employees recognized the man as a frequent customer who asked them about toys he was buying for his daughter.

Detectives interviewed the man, who apologized for the confusion and said he was only speaking to people in the store about the toys because his daughter collects them.

The man is not a felon, is not on probation, and is not a registered sex offender.

The sheriff's office encourages residents to contact them at their non-emergency line at 639-0013 to report suspicious incidents so they can investigate them, rather than rely solely on social media to spread the word.