CHESTERFIELD TWP. (WWJ) - Police say a 45-year-old self-proclaimed “homeless” man who also happens to be a sex offender was arrested after several women complained about him following them through a local Michael’s store.
Jeffery Atkins was arraigned Thursday in the 42-2 Court in New Baltimore on charges of sex offender — fail to comply with registration act, a four-year felony, and disturbing the peace, a 90-day misdemeanor. Atkins is being held in the Macomb County Jail on a $5,000 bond.
Police say they responded to the Michael’s store on Gratiot Road, just north of 23 Mile Road in Chesterfield Township, around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday after a crying woman called 911 to report that a suspicious man was following her and her children around the store, and she feared he was going to hurt them.
As officers pulled up, the woman and her children exited the store. Officers observed the suspect following closely behind the family and stopped him at the entrance. Store management then approached the officers and said several female shoppers complained that the same man had followed them, even telling one teenage girl, “you’re hot.”
Upon questioning about his actions in the store, police say Atkins gave them a fake name. When officers verified Atkins true identity, they learned he was a convicted sex offender that had recently done time in prison for a criminal sexual conduct conviction in 2006 out of Marquette. In that case it was documented that Atkins had followed a woman around several stores and touched her against her will.
Police say Atkins has an extensive criminal history, including stalking and other sex crime convictions, and has been “wandering homeless” since his release from prison in April of 2013.
Investigators believe other women may have experienced unwanted contact Atkins. Anyone who has information on potential victims is urged to contact Chesterfield Township Police at 586-949-2322.