PHOENIX – A registered sex offender was arrested Wednesday after Phoenix police said he exposed himself to an 8-year-old girl.
Police said the victim had just gotten off her school bus in the area of Campbell and 13th avenues and was walking home when a blue older model pickup truck stopped and the driver opened his door. The man was not wearing any pants and he allegedly exposed his genitalia then began masturbating.
The victim hurried home and told her father what had happened. Officer James Holmes said the girl's father got into his vehicle and began to follow the suspect as he drove to another neighborhood in the area of 19th Avenue and Indian School Road.
The father watched as the suspect began to drive slowly near another young girl in a school uniform, according to Holmes. The suspect suddenly sped away and the father lost sight of him but was able to get the license plate of the truck and called police.
A records check showed the truck's owner to be Danny Ray Jones, 62, and a background check revealed that he is a registered sex offender.
Police went to Jones' home and waited for him to return. A patrol officer saw Jones' vehicle near his house driving on the wrong side of the road and initiated a traffic stop.
Holmes said Jones admitted to being in the area where the victim had been walking and to being in his truck naked and masturbating.
Jones was booked into jail on one count of indecent exposure.
Many parents in the area where the exposure incident happened are still on edge.
"That's out and out terrifying," parent Stephanie McCollum said. "It really is."
"It terrifies me to let my daughter outside and she won't ever go outside alone," Tiffany Crocenzi said. "I think it's just disgusting anybody would look at a child in that way."
Tom Eglin said he believes he sees the victim waiting for the bus each morning and as a grandfather and member of the Neighborhood Watch, he's outraged.
"I'd like to find him in a little alley with my 2-by-4 and have a little discussion with him for sure," Elgin said.
Jones' neighbors six miles away said they had no idea he was a sex offender.
The Osborn School District notified parents of the incident and had counselors available for the students.
"This is a great time to remind parents to talk to their children about stranger danger," Osborn School District Superintendent Patricia Tate said.