North Carolina

Sex offender locks kids in convenience store after they try to buy candy, NC cops say

A registered sex offender is accused of locking two children inside a convenience store where he worked, media outlets report.

The children went to the Save U Time Convenience Store in Newport, North Carolina, to buy candy and drinks around the store’s closing time on Sunday night, police say, according to WITN. Newport is a town in eastern North Carolina, about 140 miles from Raleigh.

Police say Hector Sanchez, a 60-year-old registered sex offender from California, then locked the doors when they came in, WITN reported.

Police say when the children tried to check out, Sanchez told them the $20 they were trying to pay with wasn’t enough, WITN reported, so they asked for their money back.

But Sanchez wouldn’t give it to them or let them out of the store, police say. The kids were scared and called the police, the Carteret County News-Times reported.

When police arrived Sanchez had let them go, but admitted to police that he had locked them in and taken their money, the News-Times reported.

Police say they later discovered he was a registered sex offender in California but had not registered in North Carolina, the News-Times reported.

Sanchez is listed on the California sex offender registry for unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 and for lewd or lascivious acts with a child 14 or 15 year old.

He was arrested and booked at the Carteret County Detention Center on Monday, jail records say.

He has been charged with two counts of second-degree kidnapping, larceny and failure to register as a sex offender, records show.

His bond is set at $35,000.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.