Women report men following them in Henrico stores: ‘I will never go shopping by myself’

Posted at 11:16 PM, Oct 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 07:37:02-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Tonya Fowler's typical Monday afternoon trip to the Food Lion on Williamsburg Road in Henrico began as it always does on October 1. But then, she noticed something odd.

"Nobody knew I was so scared and panicking," Fowler said.

For nearly the entire hour she shopped, a man in his 50s or 60s followed her everywhere she went.

"He moved up with me down every aisle," Fowler said.

Fowler said she would turn to look at him and the man would quickly look away pretending to pick up something off the shelf, but when she turned away, she said he would put it back.

"When I'm looking for sub rolls, he's right there in the next aisle with his head down looking up on me," Fowler said.

Finally, Fowler said she approached a Food Lion employee for help and within seconds, she said another man swooped in, asked who was following her, and offered to stay with her.

"I'm like, no you're fine, cuz, again, I didn't know if he was working with him or not," Fowler said.

But, the second man followed her to to the register and insisted on helping Fowler.

"This one would stay in my face while this one is following me. I knew they were working together just so I couldn't tell somebody," Fowler said.

As she checked out, the first man checked out in the next register over.

"They kept looking at each other too...I didn't know how to get myself out of that situation," Fowler said.

Fowler said she once again attempted to get the attention of an employee, when suddenly, her best friend randomly showed up at the store and told the second man to get lost.

Fowler said her friend made sure she got to her car safely.

"All the way home I was thankin' God I'm still here," Fowler said.

Fowler immediately posted about the experience on Facebook.

The next day, another woman posted on Facebook about a similar experience across town at the Target on Staples Mill that happened a few weeks ago, but the man she described does not match the men Fowler described.

"Scariest thing I've ever been through, I will never go shopping by myself ever," Fowler said.

We asked Henrico Police about the two incidents and a spokeswoman told us that to the best of her knowledge no one has ever felt unsafe enough to call the police. Fowler said she had not reported the incident to police yet, but she planned on doing so.

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