The Bulloch County Sheriff's Office arrested a man Sunday on a felony public indecency charge after he allegedly exposed himself to a woman he helped change a flat tire near Interstate 16.
The suspect, Robert James Lanier, 49, of Harper Road in Metter, was already on Georgia's sex offender registry. A news release issued by Sheriff's Office Capt. Todd Hutchens, under the letterhead of Sheriff Noel Brown, described Lanier as being arrested for "yet another sex crime."
About 12:30 a.m. Sunday, the female motorist called from I-16 to report the incident. After first patrolling the area and not spotting the suspect or a car matching the description, BCSO Cpl. Jason Borne called the victim on her cellphone "as she had previously left the area due to being very scared and disturbed after the suspect exposed himself," the release states.
The woman told Borne she had been driving east toward Savannah when she left the interstate via the off ramp at mile marker 116 to check on her tire and the condition of her vehicle. Then a car she described as tan or goldish pulled off the roadway in front of her and a man got out and offered to help her change the tire.
"The victim said the male did assist in changing her tire and seemed to have a nice demeanor about himself," the narrative the sheriff's department issued to news organizations states.
But then he reportedly told the woman he had several tires at his home, only a short distance west from where they were, and asked if she wanted to follow him there and check on a replacement tire. The woman "did not feel comfortable and declined," saying she would check on a new tire on Monday, according to the BCSO narrative.
As she got in her car to leave, the man got back out of his car wearing only a shirt and exposed himself to her as he ran toward her car, according to the sheriff's narrative, which went into more detail.
ID'd from web
Investigator Lt. Walter Deal later called the victim and asked her to search the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender Registry website to see if she could identify the man who exposed himself to her from either the Bulloch or Candler County list, the release states. The victim contacted Deal a short time later and identified Lanier, who appears on the Candler County list, as the suspect, the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office reported.
After investigators confirmed that Lanier's vehicle matched the description the victim had provided, Lanier was arrested and taken to the Bulloch County Jail, where he was being held without bond Monday. The Sheriff's Office stated that he has multiple previous convictions for indecent exposure in both South Carolina and Georgia.
The GBI Sex Offender Registry site lists his May 2008 and September 2008 public indecency convictions as for "third or subsequent" offenses, which was also the way the current charge is listed in the booking report.
Brown commended Borne and Deal for their work on the case. The sheriff, observing that "attention to detail of the suspect and his vehicle" led to the arrest, advises all citizens to be similarly alert and vigilant, and anyone with information about this or any similar incident is asked to contact Deal at (912) 764-1788, the news release states.