Newport Police arrested a convenience store employee and sex offender on Sunday after he allegedly locked two children inside the store and refused to let them buy products.
Police say on Sunday evening, officers responded to the Save-U-Time convenience store, located at 272 Chatham Street, after an employee, Hector Castro Sanchez, reportedly was holding two children inside the store who had tried to buy candy and soda.
The children told police they had tried to buy candy and soda at the store, and Sanchez locked them inside the store after they entered. When they gave Sanchez the money for the items, the children said he demanded more money from them, but he would not allow them to keep the items they had bought or return the change to them.
The children asked Sanchez why he wouldn’t unlock the door and let them out of the store, but this angered Sanchez, who did finally let them out after one of the children used her cellphone to call her mother, who then called police.
Officers said Sanchez was caught driving away from the store when officers arrived.
The girls were found safe near a business across the street.
Officers questioned Sanchez, who admitted to locking the children inside the store because he was closing the store. He also admitted to taking the children’s money, and stated he had it in his pocket, but could not explain why he took their money without letting them keep the products they bought.
Sanchez also gave investigators several false names during questioning.
Detectives also found Sanchez is a registered sex offender in California, who had lived in Newport and worked at the Save-U-Time convenience store since at least April, 2018, but had not registered as a sex offender in North Carolina.
Sanchez was arrested and charged with the following counts: 2 counts of Second-Degree Kidnapping, 1 count of Larceny from the Person, 1 count of Providing Fictitious Information to Law Enforcement Operating a Motor Vehicle Without an Operator’s License, 1 count of Failing to Register as a Sex Offender.
Sanchez was taken to the Carteret County Detention Center on a $35,000 bond.
Authorities say Sanchez may face additional charges related to sex offender registration and status.