Robert Alfrey
Robert Alfrey

SEE ALSO: Man accused of molesting tot at Walmart is a Cumberland County child advocate

The mother of a 2-year-old girl had looked away from her toddler for just a moment, but that brief window of opportunity was all an accused child molester needed, according to police.

Robert R. Alfrey -- who turns 70 years old this week -- kept his eye on the mom as he approached the child, who was sitting in a cart at the entrance to the Walmart in Newberry Township about 7:25 p.m. Monday, according to police.

Alfrey touched the child's upper leg, then walked away, according to his arrest affidavit.

But "within 20 seconds" he'd returned to the child, Newberry Township Police Chief John Snyder said.

Alfrey rubbed the toddler's leg again, then fondled her genitals, the affidavit alleges.

Another customer witnessed what was happening and yelled, alerting the child's mother and causing Alfrey to ask "What?" before walking away, according to the affidavit.

The child's mother followed Alfrey as he "briskly walked" to his car and drove off, and she was able to give officers his license-plate number, the affidavit states.

'Chilling': The mother and a woman with her were getting a video from the Redbox video machine when the toddler was molested, according to the chief.

"The parent did absolutely nothing wrong," Snyder said. "Her back was turned for just a brief minute."

Snyder said he knows this because Walmart's surveillance video captured the incident, which he called "chilling."

"This guy walked right up to the child. ... He saw an opportunity and he took it," Snyder said. "He could have walked right out of the store with her."

Even more chilling was additional video surveillance footage from Walmart, which shows Alfrey following the child and her mother around the store prior to the assault happening, according to Snyder, who said in his professional opinion, Alfrey was acting like a sexual predator.

That video also shows Alfrey indecently touching the toddler in other areas of the store as well, the chief said.

Arrested: Township police tracked down Alfrey using his plate number, then arrested him, the affidavit states.

He confirmed for officers that he'd been at Walmart and "some lady" yelled at him for touching a little girl, according to the affidavit.

Snyder said the incident shows just how vigilant parents must be at all times.

Alfrey, of 534 Fishing Creek Road in Fairview Township, was taken to York County Prison on $50,000 bail, charged with two counts of indecent assault and one count each of corruption of a minor, harassment and disorderly conduct.

He posted bail and was released Tuesday evening, according to prison records.

Alfrey did not return phone messages seeking comment, and it was unclear whether he has retained an attorney.

His bail conditions forbid him to have unsupervised contact with any minors, according to records.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at levans@yorkdispatch.com.