Local News

Family’s attorney suggests parents teach kids to be aware of surroundings, take action if needed

SAN ANTONIO – It was a terrifying sight for a 14-year-old girl Friday afternoon while she was back-to-school shopping at Forever 21 in La Cantera.

When she entered the dressing room stall, she saw a cellphone camera set on a pair of jeans on the floor, pointed up at her.

She didn’t think anything of it at first but said when she tried to look under the stall, a man moved the phone and jeans to the other side where she saw another girl standing.

She said she noticed it was in recording mode as he grabbed the phone.

“Fortunately, because she had not disrobed, she was able to get out and warn that other child who was about to be videotaped,” said Adam Cortez, her family’s attorney.

Cortez said the girl immediately told a staff member what happened, and they ordered the man out of the dressing room.

The teen said she snapped a photo of him before she said he ran away.

KSAT decided to show the man’s picture but with a blurred face for now. That’s because, although San Antonio police are actively investigating, they said Monday that “due to the integrity of the case, we cannot confirm at this time that the pictured person is the suspect.”

Cortez said the Forever 21 manager told his client on Friday that she recognized the man by his shoes.

“She said, ‘Oh, yes, I recognize this individual. We’ve had prior accusations, but we’ve never been able to get a good photograph and ID him,’” Cortez said.

That’s why the girl’s mom took to TikTok, where her post about the incident has caught the attention of over 300,000 people.

“We’re hopeful that SAPD can act quickly in identifying him. There have been many tips,” Cortez said.

As investigators continue to work, Cortez wants parents to talk to their kids about situational awareness.

“What the child did right was be aware of her surroundings. You have to teach your children ‘be on the lookout,’ know when someone has a camera or something that looks like a camera, and take action,” he said.

KSAT also reached out to Forever 21 for comment on Monday. We have not yet received a response.

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About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She’s also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.