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UPDATE: Man Arrested After Approaching, Scaring Child in Springs

Springs School asks the parents to review "stranger danger" protocol with children in light of incident.

Update, Oct. 19, 12:30 p.m.: East Hampton Town police identified the man who was arrested after he approached to a Springs School student on her way home from school as Mariano Melchor-Galindo, 35, of East Hampton.

Previously: Parents received word on Thursday that a student was approached by a strange man while walking home from school on Wednesday afternoon.

Eric M. Casale, the principal at Springs School, sent a note to parents on Thursday morning to alert them of a safety concern. He said East Hampton Town police contacted him last night after a man riding a bike approached a student.

"The man tried to approach the child but the child followed the stranger danger protocol and ran away home to report the incident to his/her parents," Casale said. "The police were notified. Due to the child’s comprehensive description of the man, the police were able to apprehend and arrest the individual."

East Hampton Town Police Chief Ed Ecker said the middle-aged man made inappropriate comments toward a 9-year-old girl in the area of Parsons Lane. "That scares and frightens her. She runs home," Ecker said. "She gets out of there pretty quickly. She sounds like a pretty savvy kid." 

Using the description of the man the girl provided, police located him at the Barnes General Store. The man was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, which is levied when a defendant is accused of "acting in a manner injurious to a child's physical, mental and moral welfare," Ecker said.

His name was not immediately available.

"It was not an attempted abduction," Ecker confirmed.

"We are asking our teachers and our parents to please spend some time going over protocols with our children regarding how to deal with strangers. This is even more important as Halloween is around the corner and many kids will be out," Casale said. "I would like to commend the East Hampton Police Department for the way they handled this issue."

Casale said the school would sent home a letter with the children, as well.

The letter was circulated to other school districts, as well.

Shrinkgirl October 18, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Great action by the EH Town Police and the Springs School. But please keep in mind that most children are abused by people they already know and trust.
Mrs. Sea October 18, 2012 at 07:13 PM
This child should be applauded. Not only did she run and then report the incident to her family, but she was able to give the police a description of the guy. Wow!
Ann October 18, 2012 at 10:20 PM
The poor kid! This IDIOTS name,& picture should be plastered ALL over so Springs residents can keep an eye out for him! I live right in the area, & It scares & angers me! Dirtbags like this don't deserve anonymity!!
1/2 n 1/2, 2 sugars October 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM
I second that... NAME AND PHOTO OF THE LOSER PLEASE...
Walter Noller October 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Please, Ann... Back up and take a deep breath, will you? Before we have public floggings let's assume the idea of innocent until PROVEN guilty still exists on the books. While there are miscreants with bad intentions within our society, let's remember all children are not as "pure as driven snow" as we'd like to think. News, such as the incidents happening in Bergen County, NJ may spark copy-cat stories. Accusations, such as this(by the child), need to be handled very carefully. While if this story is proven true, then let the law do its job, but there's no need to jump to conclusions. Unfortunately, social media (such as Patch) allows for anonymous postings such as yours(and others) without retribution if this story is proven to be without merit but the damage to both the child and the accused exist long after you've logged off. All that said, let's hope this is merely a misunderstanding and we find ourselves living in a place such as we'd like it to be... Peaceful and safe.
Jimbo October 19, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Many years ago I drove our best freinds 13 yo daugter home after she baby sat for us. The next day her farther caled me and accused me of making advances toward her. I told him it wasn't true but we parted ways and he didn't press charges. Many years later she admitted to her grandfather (whom we remained friends with) that she made up the story because her older sister was getting all the attention! I forgave her but it could have turned out very badly for me in this small comunity! Every story has two sides and smoewhere in the middle is the truth!
ViralGrain October 19, 2012 at 03:02 PM
I remember back in high school I was having dinner at my girlfriends house when her little sister got sent to her room for misbehaving. About 20 mins later there was a knock at the door and it was the police. The little sister called and said her father just beat her. The poor guy was put in cuffs and made to lay face down in his front lawn until they got the story from the rest of us. I agree there are two sides to every story and kids do make up things. However allot of the times even a lie has some element of truth. Unless a child is doing something dangerous, acting very unruly, or is in need of help, a stranger really has no business to just to approach a kid out of the blue. Especially a male adult and a little girl. At the least the guy is a complete jerk but thats good Patch didn't go broadcasting his name until the facts are a little more clear.
eh October 19, 2012 at 04:15 PM
This is a situation whereby the identity of the arrestee must be disclosed and published he is not entitled to remain un identified, As he is a suspect, Not a victim. Please publish as soon as you get it
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) October 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM
The defendant's name has been added.
Sophie7 October 19, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Ann, i couldnt agree more...it wasn't an attempted abduction?...No just possible rape or homicide
Sophie7 October 19, 2012 at 05:11 PM
jimbo and walter....do you have a young daughter by any chance? yes, mistakes do happen sadly, but each person is entitled to their feelings and reaction especially as mothers!
Ann October 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I'm sorry..But I'm NOT taking ANY chances when it comes to children! There are too many being abducted & killed...Yes, Innocent until proven guilty..But STILL should be kept AWAY from ANY children until he is proven innocent WITHOUT ANY Doubt. Something's terribly WRONG in this country..The SUSPECTS have more rights than the victims! Put that in your hat & FLOG it......
Ann October 19, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Some of these responses have prompted me to respond further... I have three children of my own, and have been working with many children in our community for over 20 years...Therefore my natural instinct is to protect children.It was reported that this Individual said Innappropriate things to this child. It's the Child's word against the adult's... Sorry, but I'm playing it safe & believing the child.Obviously, SOMETHING made her uncomfortable..Or should we ASSUME he didn't say Innappropriate things & wait until he causes actual physical harm? Not in my book....
Judi Bistrian October 20, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Yes. pictures of the suspect PLEASE so we know who to look out for....
Walter Noller October 20, 2012 at 02:57 PM
The man was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, which is levied when a defendant is ACCUSED of "acting in a manner injurious to a child's physical, mental and moral welfare," ACCUSED!!! And by a child. The statement above has all the safety precautions we need at this point. This is near vigilantism, folks. What is being called for is potential ruin of an innocent person's reputation and if not careful, there's potential of lawsuit for slander, of course, you're all going to provide you names and no hide behind an alias. Thank you, Patch, for NOT providing any additional information until this gets properly investigated. Then, AND ONLY THEN, if this has merit, have at it and should there be jail time for this person, I say let the inmates "have at it" in their own special kind of justice, but for now, may cool heads prevail for everyone's sake to include the child.
John Pine October 21, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I wonder if he was here legally. Wake up folks and rake your own leaves! They are turning LI into a 3rd world country, driving while intoxicated, bringing gangs, sexually assaulting women and children, these guys are UP TO NO GOOD! I'm sure everyone will ignore my comments as usual, which is why I'm getting the heck off LI. Its too far gone. I would never want to raise a family here!
Shrinkgirl October 21, 2012 at 03:25 AM
ok calm down, John. I am not ignoring you, Sexual offenders are all races and nationalities. I hope you do not leave. Please stay and channel your passion into helping victims of abuse. Anywhere you go there will be problems. Stay. Help. Be an activist.
John Pine October 21, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Sorry but its just getting too bad here. Long Island has a huge problem with illegals. Its not just me, when I have friends and family who visit from out of state they can't believe how bad it's gotten here. They move into town and turn it into a ghetto, its a shame whats happening to the Hamptons. Look around town, you see them loitering and getting drunk. Seems everytime I turn around I'm reading about another DWI comitted by these savages. Many of our parents settled here because it was a SAFE, CLEAN, and PEACEFUL place. Now we are dealing city problems, crime, trash, traffic, and overcrowding. Everyone will always try and change the topic, but the glaring reality is LI'ers appetite for day laborers is causing major declines in our communities. People who have come here illegally will most likely have no problem breaking other laws while here. This man involved in this incident fits the illegal day laborer pattern, riding a bike around and saying perverted things to young girls and women. Don't believe me, I see and hear it all the time across Long Island. Its not just a problem out west, its not made its way all the way to the East End. I'm trying to make people aware of the problem, but its up to everyone to vote out pandering politicians and do their own lawns. So far I dont see much progress. Mark my words if these criminals were removed from our communities, crime would go down alot! And maybe eastern LI would return to the safe, bucolic place it once was.
Shrinkgirl October 21, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Thank you John. You speak of very real problems. There is a small percentage of criminals here who are Hispanic. We need to take serious actions against those people. But the majority of our Hispanic population are hardworking families with many of their children being valedictorians at the EHHS. Trust me; there are just as many white guys who are sex offenders and criminals. Like I said before, please don't leave us. Stay and help solve the problems. We are all immigrants.
John Pine October 21, 2012 at 04:20 AM
Its a shame our kids cant even feel safe walking home from school with these men around. The article says he was found near the Barnes General Store, which sells lotto tickets and beer, I bet its a hangout for day laborers who seem to gravitate toward these kinds of stores (7-11s, Multiservices, Delis).
Shrinkgirl October 21, 2012 at 04:30 AM
and trust me John: Eastern Long Island was home to sexual abuse, incest, rape and domestic violence WAY before the Hispanic population arrived. We have to work together to change all of that and not play the blame game.
ViralGrain October 21, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Didn't we have a cop who had an affair with a teenage girl who engaged with each other during the police ride along program where kids would ride with an officer for a day to see what it was like? If I'm not mistaken the girl got pregnant also. Stop bashing the latin community. Like Shrinkgirl said there this is nothing new here. Whats new is we have better communication with each other thanks to the internet. Whats new is there has been population growth so of course there will be increase in crime, but I bet if we could get a real census as to how many people actually reside here the crimes per population is still extremely low compared to anywhere else. The Latin community work hard. Have Christian roots. Are family orientated. And make great loyal friends if you ever take the time to know them. Trust me you should all be grateful as there are parts of this country that are not as lucky to have them immigrating there to but have other nationalities who I will not mention, who absolutely destroy the communities they come to. Also take a look at places in this country that were so bad that you wouldn't even want to go there during the day. The spanish moved in and cleaned places like that up. (no names mentioned but you can take a ride up island and see a small example) They put in stores and restaurants. Pushed out the drug dealers and crackheads. So believe what you want, but I'm happy to have them here because it could of been far worse and they are mostly good people.
John Pine October 23, 2012 at 05:02 AM
There's a difference between legal immigrants and guys who stand on a corner getting drunk. Yes there are plenty of hispanics here legally and contributing good to our communties, but the illegals, day laborers, guys who stand around waiting to get picked up, bring nothing good to the community. They make people who want to buy something in 7-11 or any other place feel uncomfortable. Often they will solicit for work. They toss litter on the ground. Gone are the days when you can have your child stop by 7-11 to pick up a snack, when the guys are hanging around. Many of them have comitted sexual offences in their own country and have little regard for the same here. I'm so tired of my fellow LI'ers lumping in hispanics who are here legally, some of whom are my friends, with creepy illegals in dirty clothes spending their days drinking and playing lotto in a parking lot. They say acceptance is the first way to combat a challange, but it seems most LI'ers are in denial, especially on the East End. Sadly I know this is a problem all across the country, but considering the high cost of living here, we deserve to live in safety and peace and not have to deal with day laborers in our towns!
John Pine October 23, 2012 at 05:09 AM
I have good friends who are hispanic as well. But how can you be OK with people who are not in the country legally? How does having 20 guys loitering around in a 7-11 parking lot help the community? I remember when East Hampton removed the S92 Bus stop from Newtown because it was located near a school, and the day laborers hanging around there was definately a problem for the kids. Of course they are here because people pick them up. There has been a change on the East End from a peaceful rural community to one full of Citiots and snobs, who hire these men and not pay any taxes. People need to THINK about the changes in their communities and voice their concerns to elected officials. Think about what we've lost and perhaps find a way to get it back. Because we certainly dont need to turn LI into the city.
ViralGrain October 23, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Totally agree with you. But the approach to this is simple yet complex. Major industries such as fast food, dept. stores, and others like the immigration policies the way they are. That is why there has been little to no change in them for so long even the the elephant in the room is obvious to us all every where in the country. They not only like the immigration policies the way they are, but they pay lobbyists to get in the ears of the people in Washington and local gov. and contribute big sums of money in sly way to those political campaigns to actually fight reform. The reasoning behind this practice is that it keeps the bottom line down for everyone. It keeps min. wages low and makes for better profits for them. I can not dam the individual who comes here and wants to be a productive citizen, and feed them selves and provide for their loved ones. I have much respect for them as they struggle on in the face of adversity as do we. None of us benefit from the immigration situation except business owners and major corporations. If we really were serious about reform we would honor The Constitution and what America's foundation is and not try to deprive anyone of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but in a way that benefits all of us equally. By capitalizing off migrant workers by placing them in a substantially higher tax bracket, then residents in a lower tax, and citizens in the lowest tax bracket we would generate allot of money for our country. Will never happen.
1/2 n 1/2, 2 sugars October 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Hey Walter, if anyone needs a deep breath here it's you, not Ann. Sounds like your brain could use some more oxygen. Blame the kid...? Nice, real nice.
1/2 n 1/2, 2 sugars October 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM
He was also drunk...
1/2 n 1/2, 2 sugars October 24, 2012 at 11:23 AM
" what is being called for is the potential ruin of an INNOCENT persons reputation" ????????????? Am I here right now?????? How about an innocent little girls life? You are virtually convicting this child without knowing what you are talking about Walter! Guys like you are just another reason we have these, dare I say, illegal dirtbags in our community. Give the sap sucking liberalism a break... DEFEND OUR CHILDREN!!!

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