Woman speaks after reported sex assault at NC T.J. Maxx

tj maxx incident_588447

GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) – Police are searching for a man they say fondled a woman inside a Gastonia store last month.

Robert Lee Miller, 39 of Mooresville, is facing charges for inappropriately touching a woman inside a T.J. Maxx and running off, Gastonia police say. They have issued warrants for his arrest on a sex offense/forcible fondling charge.

“I was out in the open, on an aisle, like at the end of an aisle,” says the woman police say Miller assaulted.

The woman says she had been shopping inside the Cox Road store on January 27 for about 45 minutes when she was attacked by a man she says groped her, performed a sex act, and left evidence on her clothing.

“You say it couldn’t happen to you, but it could,” the woman says.

She says another shopper heard her scream and ran to get help. The man quickly left the store, but his image was captured on a security camera.

“How can a man do that to somebody that they have no idea who they are?” the victim asks.

She says she was relieved to find out a warrant was filed Tuesday for Miller.

“It’s exhausting to wake up every day and wonder have they caught him yet.”

Seeing his face in photos, she says, takes her back to the trauma.

“I have to relive it every single day.”

The event has changed how she looks at life, she says, and how she will go about activities that used to be normal.

“Every time I go into a store I’ll always wonder who’s watching me…anybody that looks like him, it’ll scare me.”

Court records show Miller was also charged in 2012 for misdemeanor “peeping Tom” and was let off on probation.

In this case, he is charged with misdemeanor “sexual battery” and felony “obscene exhibitions.”

Anyone with additional information is asked to call officers at 704-866-6702 or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.

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