Ralph Conone, a 68-year-old man who should know better, has admitted to police that he would punch children in the head at Walmart store in Columbus, Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reports:
"He stated that he does this because of the excitement of being able to do it and get away with it with the parents right there," said Sgt. John Hurst of the special victims bureau. "He'll just strike them in the head and just turn around and walk away."Upon further inspection of the surveilliance tapes, Ralph is seen hitting two other boys. He told police that he would commit the assaults while shopping. But police said he didn't appear to shop for anything Wednesday night, and he later admitted going into the store with the intent to strike the children. He also told police he has been assaulting the kids since January and he only assaulted little children "because they were unable to defend themselves."
Conone is jailed on two misdemeanor counts of assault after an alert mother realized he had done something to her two boys, ages 6 and 7, while they shopped about 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Walmart at 2700 Bethel Rd.
Last night, that mother talked about the incident. She asked that only her first name be used, saying she's afraid to have Conone know her children's names.
Vanessa said she was looking over the plums in the store's fruit section, with her boys nearby, when she heard her younger son cry out, "He hit me!"
At first, Vanessa thought he was talking about a fight with his older brother, until the 6-year-old added, "The man hit me."
She said her son pointed to a man who was heading out the front door.
Vanessa said she followed him outside and confronted him. He denied hitting the boy, but she grabbed him by the arm, led him back inside and asked store personnel to call police.
"I just knew I couldn't let him go," she said.
Vanessa said she took her son's hat off and found some blood. A Columbus Division of Fire rescue squad was called, and her son was treated for a minor cut.
A store security tape confirmed that the man had struck her son, police say.