A witness’s description, along with Giant employees and video footage helped police arrest a man who grabbed a UMW student in the Giant parking lot last week.
Police arrested Christopher Ford, 64, of Fredericksburg on Tuesday, Feb. 15 and charged him with assault and battery, Natatia Bledsoe, public information officer of the Fredericksburg Police Department said.
On Tuesday, Feb. 9 around 12:30 p.m., a female student left the Giant grocery store on Route 1 in Fredericksburg. As she was leaving the store, Ford approached her and identified himself as being with Giant security.
He said he would escort the student to her car. The student told him that Giant did not have security and that she did not need an escort.
Then, Ford grabbed her arm in an aggressive way and tried to guide her from the store to the parking lot, according to a safety advisory sent by the UMW Police.
After the student yelled for him to leave her alone, Ford let go of her and returned to the front area of the store.
Ford had been under investigation in the incident since last week, Bledsoe said.
The police consulted with the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the victim before obtaining a warrant for Ford’s arrest yesterday.
After receiving the warrant, the detective assigned to the case contacted Ford to tell him that police had a warrant for his arrest, according to Bledsoe.
Ford turned himself in.
After his arrest, other people came forward with similar stories of Ford.
“We did hear that Mr. Ford was known to approach women in parking lots,” Bledsoe said. “But, we never got any [formal] complaints.”
Witnesses said they had seen Ford come up to women before and offer to walk them to their cars, but that they had never seen him physically threaten anyone, Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe said Fredericksburg police frequently patrol the Eagle Village area and that uniformed officers in marked cars have been working off duty at the Eagle Village construction site.
“You’ll see a lot of police in the area,” she said.
Ford’s arraignment was scheduled for this morning, according to the Fredericksburg General District Court records.