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Man arrested for lewd calls to Fred Meyer

A man suspected of making sexual suggestions to at least two young children at local department stores was charged last week in Kitsap County Superior Court, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

Barry N. North, 43, a current resident of Kelso, was arraigned Thursday on two counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

North pleaded not-guilty and was released from custody after posting $100,000 bail, said Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Deputy Scott Wilson.

“He is due back in court for another hearing in two weeks,” Wilson said, confirming that the defendant was allowed to return to Cowlitz County in the meantime.

The Kitsap County incidents that North is accused of occurred in March of 2005 at the Port Orchard Fred Meyer store on Sedgwick Road, then again three days before Christmas at another Fred Meyer in Bremerton. Both times, North is suspected of calling and pretending to be a radio station employee with a prize he wanted to give to a child shopper.

In the Port Orchard incident on March 27, 2005, North allegedly spoke to an employee in the store’s toy department and asked to speak to a child so he could give he or she a Barbie gift certificate.

The employee complied and gave the phone to a nine-year-old boy, who began talking to the suspect and almost immediately “got a scared look on his face,” according the the probable cause for arrest statement filed by the Washington State Patrol. The victim said the caller described pulling his pants down and requesting sexual favors.

After learning what the caller was saying, the store employee took the phone receiver back from the child and told the suspect he would need to speak to the store manger. The suspect then hung up.

Several months later on Dec. 22, North is suspected of calling a Fred Meyer store in Bremerton and making a similar request. In that incident he reportedly asked to speak to a female child, stating that he had a $200 gift certificate and a Barbie doll to give to her.

When the employee who answered the phone again complied, the suspect allegedly made comments of a sexual and violent nature.

Kitsap County deputies responded to the stores on both 2005 incidents, but no suspect information was acquired at that time.

Wilson said North was not identified as a suspect until earlier this year when a similar incident occurred in Illinois, and the call was traced back to North, who was later revealed to be living in Kelso.

According to the Round Lake Beach Police Department in Illinois, when a similar incident occurred at a Wal-Mart in Round Lake, the call was traced to North’s cell phone. Officers then obtained North’s cell phone records and compared them to similar incidents, Wilson said, which eventually led to the WSP being alerted and a warrant being issued in Kitsap County for North’s arrest.

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