Two North Platte men were charged with crimes against women over the weekend, one of them at the Platte River Mall, leading to a series of charges, including assault and shoplifting.The other man is charged with stalking, and is held on a corresponding high bond.
In the first arrest, police spokesman John Deal said officers went to the Platte River Mall at 4:54 p.m. Sunday to check out a reported disturbance.
By the time police arrived, the man had left on foot, but a description was obtained. A patrol officer soon found a man near SunMart on Francis St. who fit the description -- Michael E. Cook, 33.
According to the police report, a mall security guard said he was called to one of the stores about Cook harassing customers. The guard told Cook to leave, but Cook allegedly shoved and threatened the guard, earning Cook a charge of third-degree assault.
Several juveniles said Cook had approached them and told him he was the owner of one of the stores and could get them discounts. Deal said Cook allegedly grabbed one of them by the arm and his general behavior was disturbing to the juveniles, leading to a charge of disturbing the peace.
A woman who works at Claire’s said Cook entered the store and told her that he was a secret shopper. Police believe Cook removed a Justin Bieber backpack as well as other merchandise totaling about $100 from the store.
He also approached the woman, “made contact with her breasts” and told her she was good looking, leading to a charge of third-degree sexual assault. Then he left without paying for the merchandise, earning him a shoplifting charge.
When police tried to take Cook into custody, he pulled away and said he wasn't going anywhere with them. Deal said he resisted handcuffs and police made an effort to get him into the patrol car, so he was also charged with resisting arrest.
Deal said Cook is apparently from Colorado and arrived in town in the last couple days, but has no permanent residence here.
Cook was given temporary residence at the jail. Bond was set Monday afternoon at $25,000.
In a facebook post, one of the victim’s mothers, Deanna Miller of Gothenburg, warned others Monday to be on their guard – such things can happen near to home.
“Thank goodness my daughter and her friends know not to go with strangers and to stand up to strange men,” Miller wrote.
Later Sunday at 9:31 p.m., an officer went to the Subway in the Love's Truck Stop to check out an harassment complaint.
The officer met a 17-year-old woman, who said she used to work with Anthony Navarrete-James at Subway. She said he has been sending her vulgar and threatening messages through Facebook and will not stop.
When she threatened to call the police, Navarrete-James, 25, made a threat about harming the police officer who showed up, according to the police report.
Deal said an officer went to the 1800 block of West 14th with probable cause to arrest Navarrete-James for stalking, because he repeatedly sent threatening messages to the young woman after being told to stop.
Deal said Navarrete-James was uncooperative. He taunted the officer on the front porch and when the officer started to arrest him, he pulled away, tried to run inside and close the front door.
The officer took Navarrete-James to the ground, at which time he began to claw the officer's face and eyes, causing minor injury.
The officer was able to handcuff him and take him to jail, where Navarrete-James was formally charged with stalking and felony assault on an officer.
Bond was set Monday at $150,000.