Attention K-Mart Shoppers!
A Cape May County man sure wasn’t searching for blue light specials when police said he did something lewd at the K-Mart store in Vineland, N.J.
Security officers at the Big K-Mart on Delsea Drive spotted 23-year-old Jose Jimenez Rugama on surveillance video Wednesday afternoon in the lingerie section, police told NBC 10 News. Initially they thought he was trying to shoplift, but quickly realized he was actually covering the front of his pants with a shirt while performing a sexual act, police said.
"What would make somebody do something like that? They just want attention, basically,” shopper Shelley Schenk said outside the store Friday afternoon.
Investigators said there were children in the store at the time, but added Jimenez Rugama only walked towards women who had their backs to him so they couldn’t see what he was doing.
Store security moved in and detained Jimenez Rugama until police arrived. They charged him with lewdness, a 4th degree indictable crime in New Jersey.
“Obviously if you’re going to do that in a store, it’s going to possibly connect that you might commit other serious sexual offenses. And that concerns us,” Vineland Police Lt. Thomas Ulrich said.
Police said the suspect told them he initially had been shopping at the nearby Cumberland Mall, then walked across Delsea Drive to a bus stop in front of the K-Mart. While waiting for the bus, investigators said he admitted going into the store to “kill some time.”
“I think people need to learn some self control and maybe have some respect for themselves and other people,” said Schenk.
Jimenez Rugama lives in Middle Township, but police said he admitted to being in the United States illegally. Vineland Police notified federal immigration authorities, who have joined the case.
For now, the only thing Jimenez Rugama is being exposed to are the confines of the Cumberland County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $2,500 bail.