Man Arrested For Child Molestation Attempt

But attacker's motives are unclear in incident at Bayfair Theater that was thwarted by an aunt who was with her niece and nephew.


An Oakland man who tried to grab a child at the Century 16 Theater at Bayfair Mall on Tuesday night was thwarted by a vigilant aunt and soon arrested in the parking lot, San Leandro police said Thursday.

Police department spokesman Lt. Jeff Tudor said the suspect, 55-year-old Maurice Hastings, had an extensive criminal record including robberies, but no history as a sexual offender.

"He was not very cooperative and we don't know whether he wanted to grope the child or if it was a kidnap attempt," Tudor said.

Tudor said Hastings was carrying a methamphetamine pipe when he was arrested.

Police said the incident began at 11:45 PM Tuesday when the aunt, who is 21, took two relatives, ages 8 and 5, into a photo booth in the theater lobby to take a momento.

According to police, as they were taking photos, the curtain opened and Hastings reached into the booth as if to grab one of the children. But when Hastings saw the aunt he began to walk away toward the exit.

When the startled family members emerged from the booth, police say Hastings made a threatening move toward the aunt. A police officer called to the scene found Hastings wandering in the theater parking lot but the suspect ignored commands to stop.

Several officers arrived to helped detain Hastings. He was arrested for annoying and molesting a child, resisting and delaying a police officer and possession of a device to smoke a controlled substance.

"The quick actions of the aunt, mall security and theater staff allowed for officers to get to the scene quickly," Tudor said. "We're pleased that we were able to make an arrest and that nobody was injured."

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Lisa June 13, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Marga, sorry, I've never met you. However, maybe we've met at the Farmers Market in the past and I don't remember??? If so, I apologize. I'm usually there with a good sized group at The Vine, but haven't been this season-been out of commision since my back surgery.
Lisa June 13, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Marga, the issue I have like others here is that this loser is in SL, grabbed a child and god knows what would have happened next. Remember that incident in Union City that happened within minutes inside a store with the relative quite close by? Let's say this was 2 in the afternoon and this happened to you, would you still feel the same way over the "charges"? You are slamming the SLPD over what they charged him with, they did their job and you take the side of a loser this city doesn't need lurking around...a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e. Blame the drugs? I'm venturing to guess most of the time drugs factor into molestation. God knows what he'll try next, and that's what I find really scary. I'm just wondering why you as a SL resident can't thank the SLPD for nabbing this guy?
Marga Lacabe June 13, 2012 at 07:03 AM
Lisa, according to the story "he reached into the booth" to grab a child which is different from having actually grabbed a child. Now I wasn't there, so I can only go by the information the Police has chosen to release to the public. To me, the sum of that information, suggests a man who is crazy and/or high and just acting irrationally. It does not suggest a child molester. Have you spent much time in the Tenderloin or Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley? There are many people who act in strange and threatening ways. I don't assume for a second any of them is a child molester. And I don't know why you are so thrilled this guy was nabbed. According to this article, he has an extensive criminal record. That means he's been in and out of jail for a long time. So in he goes again, the states spends several tens of thousands of dollars to process him and incarcerate him, and out he goes a few months from now and whatever danger he is today, he'll still be then. The fact is, this is a social problem, not a police problem, but we make it into one by not addressing it otherwise.


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