On Halloween, close eye kept on sex offenders

Updated:

Loading
OCOEE, Fla. —

Hundreds of sex offenders are hard to track in central Florida.

With children out trick-or-treating Thursday, one Ocoee mom is glad a registered sex offender isn't among them.

The mother did not want to be identified to protect her children.

"There's too many kids around this neighborhood. It's like a grocery store for him," she said.

Bobby Harris, 53, was arrested for peering through the mom's window at her three young girls.

She said her first reaction was to want to get her gun and shoot him.

No matter how vigilant any parent in that neighborhood is about checking for sex offenders, Harris would never have been on their radar.

The 1-mile radius around the mom's home only shows the faces of seven men she'd have to go through the pictures of 80 other registered sex offenders with no known address to know Harris was even on the list.

The mother of three is glad neighbors spotted Harris peeking in her windows.

"He was already in the back yard but trying for nobody to see him, he was hiding behind the trees," resident Carmine Santiago said .

Harris served seven years of a 20-year prison sentence for assaulting children in the 1990s.

Since then he's been charged four more times for exposing himself, plus seven charges of loitering and prowling, four charges of trespassing and one lewd and lascivious charge.

Harris is one of 230 convicted sex offenders in central Florida listed as a transient with no address to track them.

"I hope he gets locked up and not let back out, if he is let back out I hope he's on a GPS where somebody can keep physical track of him," the mother said.

 Meanwhile, in Seminole County, deputies and probation officers teamed up and fanned out, making surprise visits to the homes of convicted sex offenders.

 "All of the sex offenders and sexual predators have been educated about their sanctions for Halloween.  They are not to have their porch light on, they're not to have Halloween decorations and they're absolutely not supposed to handing out any candy," Kim Cannaday with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said.

 Parent Cheryl Lawson said she was relieved deputies were keeping tabs.

 Cannaday said they were specifically targeting sexual offenders and predators who are on supervised probation.

 Lawson said it’s scary that kids don’t always know who is on the other side of the door when they're out trick-or-treating and for that reason she always tags along.