Betty Brewer had just made a stop for cigarettes at her Rogers Park grocery when she noticed a frightened 12-year-old girl talking to the cashier.
"Can I stay here for a little while?" the girl asked after buying a freeze pop Sunday afternoon, according to Brewer. "There's a man who says he's taking me home."
Brewer asked the girl if she could walk her home, then took the child's hand and left the store. The man was still parked outside in a dark green SUV, Brewer said.
"She pointed him out to me, and as soon as we stepped out the man was sitting there," Brewer said. "She said, 'That's him right there.' "
Brewer said she walked up to the SUV and confronted the man. "Oh, are you trying to take the little girl home? What's up with that?" Brewer said. "I shook him up when I said something to him. I'm animated."
The man appeared unsure what to do, driving the SUV forward and then backing up. Brewer said she quickly ran behind it and got his license plate and jotted it down before he finally drove off.
She called police and took the girl home. Officers were able to track down the man using the license plate and arrested him later that night, police said.
"She didn't know that man and that man didn't know her," Brewer said. "He was waiting on that child."
According to a police report, the girl was walking into the store as the man was walking out. He stopped and asked her where she was going and she replied, "Into the store," the police report said. "Oh, I was about to give you a ride home, I'll wait for you," the man said, according to the report.
Abraham Pierre, 52, of the 1300 block of West Touhy Avenue, was charged with one count of felony child abduction/luring, according to Cook County state's attorney's spokeswoman Lisa Gordon. He was ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Records show Pierre was arrested once, in Sept., 1997, but the charges were dropped when the complaining witness failed to show up in court.Brewer said she was glad she could help the girl and help police catch the man. Still, the ordeal upset her.
"I was so shocked and upset to actually see this. You hear about this every day but to actually see this," Brewer said. "This is one child that the monsters didn't get.
"People are just bold," she added. "This was just brazen."