A mother of two girls said she felt violated after her five-year-old caught a man peering into her bedroom window in the middle of the night in Dracut, Massachusetts.
"It's really scary. It's crazy," Emmarie Albert said of what happened. "I can't imagine how my daughter feels. I mean, she saw him. He was looking her in the eyes. They were looking at each other."
Albert said her daughter Aliza started screaming that there was a man outside her bedroom window on Skyline Drive just after 2 a.m. Monday. She said the man was standing in the bushes and looking inside.
Albert later found out her neighbor had also seen the man looking into the window and called police to report him. The neighbor, who asked to remain nameless, said she was walking her dog around 2 a.m. Monday when the dog started barking at a set of bushes. She then saw the suspect coming out of the bushes near the apartment.
"This is disturbing to me," the neighbor said. "That there's a man -- no matter what you're doing here -- it's 2:30 in the morning, it’s raining and you're hiding by the bushes by a child’s window. There’s no excuse for it."
When police arrived, the man was gone. But the neighbor said she couldn't go back to sleep after the incident and ended up waiting for the man to go back to his truck. Then she jumped in her car and followed him, took pictures, called police again and led them to him.
Police stopped the car and identified the suspect, whose name has been withheld. Police said they will be pressing charges, and the owner of the property has also issued a no-trespass order to keep the suspect away from the area.
Jolene Carignan said she's the stepmother of the suspect, and the family has had their own issues with him.
"He’s a sick individual and he needs help," she said.
Wednesday morning she went to the police department to give them information.
"Citizens need to know, they need to know, they need to be watching their children," she said.
Dracut Deputy Chief David Chartrand said the suspect told officers he was at the apartment complex to sell marijuana, but the story didn't check out.
"Yet when he was pressed on that issue he had nobody identifiable that he was intending to make a purchase from him," Chartrand said.
Police say this wasn't the suspect's first time at the apartment complex. Someone else reported his pick up truck there a few months ago.
"Apparently had same story at that time that he dropped his cell phone in the bushes," Chartrand said.
Police say there wasn't any criminal activity then, and until the man faces a judge for this situation, neighbors say they're on edge.
"I think everybody's nervous," one woman said. "That’s scary for someone to encounter at 2 in the morning."
The deputy chief says the police department is submitting charges for disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct, but it's up to the court to determine if there's probable cause, and that takes time. Police won't release the man's identity until he's been arraigned.
"It’s a court process," Chartrand said.
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The children's' mother is frustrated that for now, the man is walking free after allegedly looking into the bedroom window of her little girls.
"I'd like him to go to jail," she said. "Until he's caught and something happens we have to worry."
As police wait to see if the court will issue a summons, they say they are stepping up patrols at the Dracut apartment complex.
Residents are encouraged to report anything suspicious to Dracut police at 978-957-2123.