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Man inappropriately touches girl in bowling alley restroom, cops say

Suspect was on probation for similar incident, officials say

LEESBURG, Fla. – A 24-year-old man who is on probation for a sex crime against a child was arrested Sunday on suspicion of inappropriately touching a 9-year-old girl who was using the restroom at a Lake County bowling alley.

Cody Michael Smith, of Eustis, was arrested on charges of attempted lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim younger than 16, and burglary with battery.

According to an arrest affidavit, the girl went alone to the bathroom at Via Entertainment, closed and locked a stall door and sat down.

The affidavit said Smith entered the women's restroom, crawled under the stall and started touching the girl's legs. The girl said Smith kept saying, "Sorry," but continued to touch and rub her thighs, according to authorities.

The girl began screaming and a woman entered the restroom, causing Smith to leave, officials said.

Smith was found a short time later and arrested.

The manager at Via Entertainment, Stephanie Hayes, said it all happened so fast: Smith was in and out of the women’s bathroom in minutes, before anyone knew what was wrong.

"In this line of business, you don't know everyone that walks through the door,” Hayes said. “Unfortunately, all you can do is be counteractive at what happened.”

Police said Smith waited until the girl was alone before following her into the restroom.

“We have our staff that is always checking the bathrooms. It just happened to be in a midst of a time," Hayes said. "... Our hearts go out to (her). Thank God there was somebody that was spot on it, that said, ‘Oh my gosh,’ was in there, took care of the situation and came and notified us.”

Smith is on probation from a similar incident in March 2015, authorities said.

News 6 checked and found Smith was already registered as a sex offender for touching a victim younger than 16 years old. Smith served time for that incident in 2013.

"You can't decide who’s gonna come in or what they're gonna do,” Hayes said. “Our staff has been made aware to keep an eye on the bathrooms a little more, check the bathrooms (and) see what's going on.”

Smith is being held at the Lake County Jail without the option to post bond.

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