Hellmuth Kolb, an 81-year-old man from Port Orange, Florida, has been arrested after he allegedly offered a woman $200,000 to buy her 8-year-old daughter outside a Walmart in the town, reports Newsweek.
Tracy Nigh, the mother who was offered the money, reported the incident immediately to Walmart security as she quickly left the store. That allowed Walmart to alert police who were able to apprehend Kolb, who was sent to Volusia County Jail. Kolb was charged with battery and false imprisonment of a minor under the age of 13.
Police reported that Nigh was sitting on a bench inside the store when Kolb approached her initially asking if she was married before he started asking about her daughter. Kolb quickly started asking if she would accept money in exchange for her daughter, starting at $100,000 before rising to $200,000. When Nigh tried to excuse herself, pulling her daughter away from him, Kolb allegedly grabbed the girl’s wrist and kissed it.
CCTV footage in the store backed up the mother’s account of everything that happened and used his credit card transactions in the store and social media posts from other women who had encounters with the man to identify him. There were also reports of the man trying this with another woman at the store.
81 y/o #portorange man accused of offering to buy child, grabbing & kissing her @Walmart dunlawton Ave. @PortOrange_PD say Hellmuth Kolb offered 1-2 hundred thousand to mom of 8 yr old girl, grabbed her arm, kissed her wrist. Police looking at possible other similar cases. pic.twitter.com/ybviuIemrH— claire metz (@clairemetzwesh) September 30, 2018
Nigh posted about the incident on her Facebook page saying that she was “shocked to the core” by the incident and promised that she would be pressing charges, which was done when Kolb was arrested. The post led to an outpouring of support from her friends who promised to pray for her, reported Newsweek.
Reporters tried to speak to Kolb at his home, but when they asked why he was arrested he said he didn’t know and slammed the door. The suspect was at home because he had paid his bond and was released but will still have to face trial.
At first, Nigh thought she was having a friendly conversation with Kolb before he started to talk about buying her daughter, reports CBS News. Nigh urged everyone to be careful about everyone in their lives, worried about what could happen to other people. With Kolb released, she expressed her concern for others in the area that such a scenario could also happen to them, something that is demonstrated by the reports that he had tried to make a similar transaction with other women in the area.