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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Police Arrest Man in Target Assault

Aired July 16, 2003 - 19:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Want to tell you about an arrest now in a case that we've been following closely here back home.
By now you've no doubt seen the grainy surveillance video of the man leading an 11-year-old girl through a Target store in West Virginia before allegedly assaulting her.

Well, police arrested a suspect in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, earlier today. There he is. His name is Allen D. Coates, 37 years old, lives in Irvington, Kentucky. Police say they are linking him or looking into linking him to another sexual assault of a child and are relieved by his arrest.

CHIEF D.W. DUNLAP, SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.V. POLICE: It's a burden lifted. I'm sure the community will be elated that this predator is no longer on the streets.

COOPER: Mike Brooks is tracking the investigation as he has been since the beginning. He joins us now from Atlanta with more.

Mike, good news, obviously, for police.

MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very good news for both the police in Ashland, Kentucky, and police in South Charleston, West Virginia.

Sine they have been able to link the two cases, the one on Friday in a Wal-Mart store, which we've been talking about over the last couple days, where he assaulted a 9-year-old girl, and the case he was arrested for this morning, the assault of this girl. Actually he's been charged with kidnapping and first degree sexual assault in this Target store.

And they're very, very happy with the results. A lot of it would not have happened had it not been for the media -- Anderson.

COOPER: That is certainly true. In fact, we heard Chief Dunlap sort of gave a nod to the media. Rarely do you hear this kind of stuff. We'll play it now, something the chief said earlier today. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DUNLAP: I would also like to thank all the news agencies for the valuable assistance rendered in this case. I feel if it were not for the broadcasts the way that they were handled, that this case may have never been solved. COOPER: And certainly that surveillance video, I guess, was instrumental in eventually apprehending this suspect?

BROOKS: Very much so. The tip came from a viewer in Kentucky who saw this person, thought that they recognized him, contacted the South Charleston police late last night.

They contacted Ashland police, worked together on this, developed the case fairly quickly and arrested him early this morning.

So an excellent case, excellent detective work on both departments.

COOPER: At this point, what is known about this man, this Coates man?

BROOKS: Right now we don't know too much right now, Anderson. I have looked on the sex offender registry of West Virginia and also of Kentucky. They're not talking too much about his past, if he's been arrested for this type of thing before, or if he has any kind of criminal record whatsoever.

I talked with Ashland, Kentucky, police earlier this evening. They hope to file charges on that Wal-Mart assault sometime this evening. But we don't know too much about him at this point.

COOPER: All right. Mike Brooks, great work. Thanks very much.

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