Shoppers detain sex offender who’s seen photographing children

Staff writerJune 7, 2013 

Two people apprehended a registered sex offender who was observed Thursday following children and taking their pictures at the Tumwater Walmart and Fred Meyer stores, police said.

Randy Russell Smith, 54, was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail in Thurston Superior Court on Friday after being arrested on suspicion of voyeurism.

According to law enforcement:

Police responded to Walmart, 5900 Littlerock Road SW, at 4:45 p.m. Thursday after a woman complained that a man was seen taking pictures of her daughter. The mother reported the behavior to store employees, who reviewed video surveillance. It showed the man following the child and appeared to show him taking pictures with a cellphone. The video also showed him taking pictures of other children.

When police arrived at Walmart, the suspect was gone. But during their investigation, they were dispatched to a disturbance at the Fred Meyer store next door.

Two customers had apprehended the man. One customer had observed the suspect taking a picture of his 6-year-old daughter by putting his cellphone under a dressing room door. The second customer helped apprehend the man after he learned that the suspect had been taking pictures of his infant grandson in his stroller.

Tumwater police detective Jen Kolb said the man is registered as a transient, but she understands he may live in Tumwater.

Smith was convicted in 1990 of first-degree child rape.

Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869

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