Brian Lewis (Source: Wake County Sheriff's Office)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Attention Walmart shoppers. It may surprise you to learn a sex offender was living in his car at the Walmart on Sigmon Road in Wilmington.
"It concerns me because of the children. Parents don't always pay attention to their children and they get out of sight," one shopper told WECT.com.
Brian Lewis is now under arrest in Raleigh, accused of flashing a young girl at a mall book store. But with his arrest, it came to light that he registered his sex offender status as the Walmart on Sigmon Road.
It's something authorities admit they know.
"Obviously it's not ideal to have a public square like a Walmart parking lot as a place where someone is residing," New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said. "That becomes a public safety issue."
Since Lewis is homeless and shelters in New Hanover County don't allow registered sex offenders, Lewis was out of options. Legally, he is allowed to do this.
"This is a problem we need to confront as a community and that is, what to do with an ex-offender who has no place to live that we need to monitor," David said.
Detective Sandi Macon at the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office admits it's very hard to track offenders that don't have a roof over their heads.
"It's easier for neighbors to say, is he living here? Is his truck parked here? Do you see him get the paper or walk the dog? Different things like that," Detective Macon said. "It's more difficult to verify they are living there."
According to Macon, Lewis is the only registered sex offender at a Walmart in the county. There are others who are homeless who list locations in the woods or under a bridge as their home address.