Man catches sex offender who took photos of children

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by KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 7 at 5:19 PM

A convicted child rapist who was allegedly photographing children at two Tumwater stores was arrested Thursday after being held down by the father of one of the girls.

Tumwater Police said 54-year-old Randy Russell Smith is suspected of taking photos of a 6-year-old girl inside Wal-Mart. The girl's mother told the store's employees. They reviewed surveillance video and saw that a man appeared to have followed the child and took photos using his cell phone. Police said employees also also saw the man taking photos of other children.

Smith faces two counts of voyeurism. Prosecutors asked Thurston County Judge James Dixon to hold Smith on $250,000 bail.

The judge doubled that amount. Dixon said Smith poses a "grave" risk to the public.

While officers investigated the Wal-Mart incident, police said the man was caught and apprehended by customers at the Fred Meyer next door while taking pictures of a girl in a dressing room.

Eric DeWitt tackled and held the suspect down until police arrived. DeWitt, a father of two from Olympia, said he saw the man kneeling underneath a changing room stall as DeWitt's six-year-old daughter was trying on a bathing suit.

"I asked him what he was doing," said DeWitt, "He said 'Nothing, nothing, nothing."

When the man walked away DeWitt said he told the man, "You're not going anywhere." He said he used some "old wrestling moves from high school" to hold the man down.

DeWitt said he's having a hard time processing what happened.

"Something was taken from me last night that's going to take a very, very long time to get back," said DeWitt.

He added that his children don't know what happened and he's alright with that.

"They slept like rocks last night," said DeWitt, "Me, not so much."

Police said Smith was booked into the Thurston County Jail for voyeurism.

Smith was convicted of first degree child rape in 1990 for raping a 3-year-old child and spent nearly 18 years in prison followed by one year of supervised release.

According to court documents, Smith was given an exceptionally long sentence for his 1990 rape. At the time prosecutors argued the age of his victim and the injuries she suffered qualified Smith for the longer sentence.

He is a registered sex offender but is listed as a transient.

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