Police have arrested a 27-year-old registered sex offender with attempted kidnapping and sexual battery after an incident in Old Hickory on Friday.
Matthew Harber admitted to grabbing a 12-year-old girl by the shoulder and putting his hand over her mouth and grabbing the girl's breast.
The incident occurred near the Discount Tobacco & Beer Market in the 3600 block of Old Hickory Boulevard around 11 a.m.
Friends with the victim screamed, causing the market clerk to come outside and intervene. Harber then released his grasp. The victim and two juveniles with her ran. Harber also left the scene.
Harber's stepfather called police late Friday night after recognizing him from surveillance video. Officers responded to Harber's home on Lakeshore Drive and took him into custody.
A 12-year-old girl said she was headed to the store with some friends when a man grabbed her and nearly took her away.
"He just grabbed me, and when that happened I didn't know what to do. I was kicking and screaming, and my friend screamed. The clerk of the store came out, and he stopped the man from grabbing me. And he just ran away," the girl said.
A worker from a nearby mechanic garage heard the girls' screams and ran after the man, but because the girls had already left he didn't know what the man had done so the stranger got away.
"We didn't know. There were no police officers here at the time, the girls were gone and the guy didn't seem harmful at all. At that time, we didn't know what he had done," the worker said.
"They need to find him immediately. If her friends weren't with her, my daughter would be gone right now," said the victim's mother, Rusty Powell.
Harber is on Tennessee's sex offender registry for a 2006 sexual battery conviction in Dickson County. He is now being held in the Metro Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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