By Danny Schrafel
A Huntington man who works at a convenience store near Dix Hills allegedly offered an 11-year-old boy $100 Friday in exchange for exposing himself, Suffolk County police said.
“He didn’t – thank God,” Sgt. Kevin McKeon said in an interview Saturday night.
The man, identified as Bitinkunar Patel, 35, of Huntington, was later arrested on child-endangerment charges after the mother of the boy and two of the other three children in the group reported the incident to police.
Officials said the disturbing exchange occurred around 7:20 p.m. May 8 at Jericho Convenience, located at 1058 E. Jericho Turnpike in Huntington. Police said it wasn’t a case of “stranger danger,” and that the suspect knew the children, who were frequent customers.
McKeon said there appears to be a level of familiarity between the suspect and the children, but not a pattern of prior abuse. Patel was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the incident, the sergeant added.
“I think he just overstepped his boundaries, clearly, and made a comment he sorely regrets,” McKeon said.
On the night of the incident, police said, two boys and two girls between the ages of 11 and 14 walked into the store. During their visit, Patel asked the children one by one if they were wearing any underwear, according to McKeon.
The 11-year-old boy in the group said he was not, and that’s when Patel allegedly made the lewd offer, as well as other crude comments related to the boy’s genitals.
After Patel allegedly asked the girls what color their underwear was, one of the older girls in the group told Patel off before all four went home to a parent, who called the cops.
Soon after, Patrol Officers Robert Mahady and Michael Yonelunas responded to the store, where they arrested Patel, 35, of Linwood Avenue in Huntington, and charged him with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Patel is scheduled to appear at First District Court in Central Islip on July 7.