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Police: Suspect Sought In Sex Abuse Of Girl, 10, At Mall Bookstore

WEST NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Police are looking for a suspect who they said performed a lewd sex act near a 10-year-old girl while she was sitting in the children's section of a bookstore.

It happened back on Dec. 26 at the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack.

Police said the girl was sitting on a bench in the children's section of Barnes & Noble as her mother shopped nearby when a man walked up from behind, performed a lewd act near her and left.

He appears to be the same suspect sought in connection with a similar incident at the mall on Dec. 21, police said. That case involved an 8-year-old girl and happened at the Bed, Bath and Beyond, police said.

Shoppers told CBS 2's Jessica Schneider that they were disgusted by the alleged acts.

"It's so disturbing that people do stuff like this," Lou Carretero said.

"I feel horrible for the child and the parents of that child," Jan Degenshein said, "It's an impossible thing to control."

Store officials said that they were cooperating with investigators.

"We take this incident very seriously and have, in fact, taken additional steps to increase security in our Palisades Center store," Barnes & Noble Spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating said in a statement. "We are cooperating fully with authorities and have, in fact, turned over video surveillance to them. We have every hope that this individual will be captured and prosecuted. We want to assure customers that our store is a safe place to bring children to shop."

Police said the suspect appears to be either white or Hispanic, in his late 20s and weighing over 200 pounds with a full beard and mustache.

He was last seen wearing all black with a large imprinted area on the front of his shirt and a backwards baseball cap, police said.

The suspect may have last been seen in the passenger seat of a light green or similar colored van with out-of-state plates, police said.

On Monday night, New York State Crime Stoppers announced a $2,500 reward for information in the case.

Anyone having information is asked to call the Clarkstown Police Department at 845-639-5800 or the TIPS line at 1-877-639-6233.

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