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Man accused of trying to buy young girl at Walmart free on bail

Man accused of trying to buy young girl at Walmart free on bail
Posted at 3:18 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 15:18:00-04

PORT ORANGE, FL (WKMG/CNN) - A man accused of trying to buy a woman’s 8-year-old daughter is free on bond and at home.

Police arrested Hellmuth Kolb, 81, and charged him with simple battery and false imprisonment. He was short in response to questions Monday, claiming he didn't know why he was in court.

"I don't know what I'm here for," he said at his home.

Tracy Nigh, the child's mother, said she couldn't believe someone approached her at Walmart and tried to buy her daughter.

She said they are devastated and shaky, and she warned parents to be on alert.

"It seemed like a friendly conversation," Nigh said. "He didn't seem a threat at first."

It happened Saturday at the Port Orange Walmart. Nigh said Kolb sat down next to them on a bench inside the store. 

She said he started asking personal questions before bargaining a price for her daughter.

"The first amount was $100,000, the second amount was $150,000 and then the final amount was $200,000, to where I had to then say 'no,'" Nigh said. 

Nigh said she was about to get up when Kolb pulled her daughter, grabbing her arms and legs and kissing her hand.

"I think what was going through my mind right is, 'What is going to happen here?'" she said. "And, 'I just need to get her away as quickly as possible.'"

Nigh told Walmart security and called police. She also posted to social media.

"I felt like it was a duty to my community that I needed to warn other parents," she said. "The more that come forward, the better I think for this and for the community."

Police said another woman shared a similar experience, and because of that tip and detailed description, investigators were able to make the connection and make an arrest. 

A next-door neighbor of Kolb, who did not give his name, said he's been friends with Kolb and his wife for at least 10 years and couldn't believe what he read in the paper.

"I said this is a crazy man and then I looked at the picture closer, and I said, 'Oh, it's my neighbor!'" he said.

Copyright 2018 WKMG via CNN. All rights reserved.