We're learning more about a Raleigh man accused of committing sex crimes against children over a span of three years.
31-year-old Thomas Flora was arrested earlier this week, charged with multiple counts of indecent exposure, indecent liberties with a child and kidnapping. Police say on a few occasions, he would drive around a pair of Raleigh neighborhoods in a green Dodge pick-up truck exposing himself to children while sometimes trying to kidnap them.
No one answered when WNCN stopped by his North Raleigh apartment on Thursday. We did catch up with one of his neighbors.
"He was always way too friendly and he was always watching his surroundings and he also knew, like, we have a police officer that stayed there, so he was really cautious," Ebony Knight said.
Police say some of those incidents happened near an apartment complex off Deep Hollow Drive. Police say that's where last year Flora exposed himself to a four-year-old girl, grabbed her by the leg and tried to drag her away. Police say she screamed and was able to get away.
"There's a lot of kids out here now," Aldrin Silvia said. He lives near that neighborhood. "There's a lot of school buses coming by. I actually grew up in this neighborhood so it's just...just insane."
Police say Flora tried similar things in a neighborhood off Varsity Drive near N.C. State University. They say the most recent incident happened on June 17. They say he was once again in that green pick-up truck, this time exposing himself to a 35-year-old woman. After years of suspicion, it was following that incident police finally made an arrest.
"Before then, this individual was among the people who were considered potential suspects," Raleigh police spokesperson Jim Sughrue said. "But detectives did not have the probable cause to make a case.. There were some things that they learned in their follow up investigation to the June 17 incident that put that probable cause in place."
Sughrue also says there's no indication the suspect knew the victims, something he says is unusual in a case like this.
Recently, police executed a search warrant on Flora's apartment. They took cell phones, computers, drug paraphernalia, a pistol, adult toys and children's toys.
Flora's neighbor told us he'd often play with the neighborhood kids.
"But as an adult, we usually don't play with them and he doesn't have kids so it kind of felt weird for him to be playing with someone else's kids to me," Knight said.
Police also tell us, in these alleged incidents, the child victims did exactly the right thing by screaming and running for help. Police are also worried there could be more victims. If you have any information you are asked to call the Raleigh police tip line at 919-834-4357.
Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms.More>>