Police: Walmart stalker 'just wanted to hug children' - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police: Walmart stalker 'just wanted to hug children'

When officers arrived at the store, the man told them he only wanted to "give the children a hug." (Source: AP GraphicsBank) When officers arrived at the store, the man told them he only wanted to "give the children a hug." (Source: AP GraphicsBank)
THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

Police arrested a man after several mothers said he was following them around Walmart and tried to take children out of shopping carts.

According to a report, 24-year-old Gregory Hatcher was arrested and charged with stalking after the incident Thursday.

When officers arrived at the store, two mothers were anxiously waiting for them. They told officers Hatcher was following women around the store attempting to pick up children from shopping carts.

"The moms were very defensive about it as any mother would be I would think. [With] some stranger coming up to your child and reaching for them, attempting to take them out of the buggy, you would think their minds were going through all types of thought as far as their child being abducted by some stranger," said Thomasville Police Captain Maurice Holmes

Officials said one of the mothers yelled at the man and told him to leave, but he still continued to follow them around the store.

But Hatcher told them he only wanted to "give the children a hug."

Hatcher was taken to jail where he was released on bond, Thursday.

Later while receiving treatment for a mental illness, police said he punched a woman in the face on Friday.

"This attack was totally unprovoked," said Holmes. "The individual who was assaulted just happened to be walking by Mr. Hatcher, and Mr. Hatcher stood up off the seat he was in and out of no where punched the councilor as he walked by."

Police arrested Hatcher again and charged him with assault. He was released again from jail on Monday.

Officials are now searching for a new counseling facility where Hatcher can be treated.

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