Reporting Anjali Hemphill
STOCKTON (CBS13) – A man posing as a Stockton store manager, accused a teenage girl of shoplifting and then took her out back and sexually assaulted her, San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputies say.
The crime happened in broad daylight as a teen was waking out of the Rite Aid in the 6400 block of Pacific Avenue.
“Are you serious? I have never heard of anything like that,” said one man.
Shoppers at the Lincoln Center are in disbelief that deputies say 45-year-old Thomas Brink sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl.
“It’s sick. It really is,” Stockton resident Danielle Rivera said. “You can’t trust people.”
Deputies say Brink confronted the girl, accused her of shoplifting and then led her to the back of the nearby Safeway where he allegedly coerced her to perform sexual acts.
“I don’t even see how a mind could even think to do something like that.
“It’s really bad, the extent they go to,” Stockton resident Carolyn Puccinelli said.
Brink wasn’t arrested until Wednesday when deputies say he returned to the Rite Aid. When police tried to contact him, he fled but was later found trying to steal beer from the nearby Safeway nearby and was arrested, authorities say.
“It’s pretty sad because this is one of the nicer neighborhoods in Stockton,” said Puccinelli.
Mothers of teen daughters who live in the neighborhood say the news is unnerving.
“I certainly wouldn’t let her go out by herself and go to the store,” said Puccinelli.
Many fear this isn’t his first time pulling off this crime.
“He might have, you never know, and just never got caught for it. I’m just glad he’s caught though,” said Rivera.
CBS13 reached out to Rite Aid but the store did not comment.
Brink is expected in court next week.