PORT ORANGE, Fla. – An 81-year-old man who offered money to a woman at a Port Orange Walmart to buy her 8-year-old daughter on Friday has been arrested, Port Orange police said.
Police said Tracy Nigh was sitting on a bench inside the Walmart on Dunlawton Avenue with her daughter when she said Hellmuth Kolb approached them. The mother said he asked her if she was married and then asked about her 8-year-old daughter.
"It seemed like a friendly conversation," Nigh said. "He didn't seem like a threat at first."
Kolb then began asking Nigh several times if she would take money in exchange for her daughter.
"The first amount was $100,000, the second amount was $150,000 and then the final amount was $200,000," Nigh said. "I then said 'No, we have to go.'"
Nigh said she was becoming more and more uncomfortable with the situation so she got up to leave with her child.
"I think what was going through my mind was, 'What was going to happen here?' and I just need to get her away as quickly as possible," she said.
As the pair were leaving, police said, Kolb grabbed the girl's arm, tried to pull her in toward him and kissed her wrist. Nigh pulled her daughter back and left the area immediately, notifying Walmart security before leaving the store, according to the arrest report. The incident was captured on surveillance video at the store. Deputies said the video shows Kolb grab the victim and forcibly restrain her against her will.
Deputies were able to identify Kolb through his credit card transaction and other investigative means, including social media, where another woman said she had experienced a similar incident with Kolb.
Nigh posted about the incident on Facebook to warn others about the encounter.
"I felt like it was a duty to my community that I needed to warn other parents,' Nigh said. "The more that come forward the better I think for this and for the community."
Kolb is charged with simple battery and false imprisonment. He was booked into the Volusia County Jail on Saturday.