COCOA, Fla. — Shoppers at a Walmart on Clearlake Road expressed concern Monday after learning that at least 16 registered sex offenders, some designated as sexual predators, listed the store as their home address.
State law allows homeless sex offenders to use the address of the closest physical address for their registration.
Most of the sex offenders listing the Walmart as their home address likely live across the street in a homeless camp set up in a wooded area, police said.
Mother, and Walmart shopper, Heather Poole said she couldn’t believe so many sex offenders lived in such close proximity to a place children and families regularly visit.
“We go there, like, 10 times a week,” Poole said. “We literally live right down the street.
“It’s pretty scary, you know? We have kids and, you know, you don’t want (the sex offenders) being around and you don’t know who it is.”
In a statement, Walmart told Channel 9 that the company goes to great lengths to keep shoppers safe.
Walmart admitted, though, that it did not know about the homeless sex offenders using the Clearlake Road store as their home address.
Walmart’s full statement:
“We work to maintain a safe environment for our customers and associates. It’s disturbing to learn that convicted felons would list our store as their residential address. We condemn such a practice and must refer any other questions to local law enforcement.”
According to the Cocoa Police Department, after registered sex offenders are released from prison, officers verify the address listed on their paperwork and check on the individual again in six months.