Accused park pedophile unexpectedly meets former classmate

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It turns out, Mike Lovelace helped put his old classmate behind bars.

"Now, I'm like that is Brian Johnson.  He was a class clown from school, always making jokes.  I don't know of anybody that didn't like him," said the Youth Baseball Coach.

Mike identified Brian to police as the man he saw watching kids in the park.

"Everybody can pat themselves on the back, but you didn't catch him soon enough," said Lovelace.

He is referring to what police found on a tape seized from Johnson's home.  A man walking around the Lufkin Wal-Mart, exposing himself to children.

"What is Wal-Mart security doing?  That kind of makes me wonder," Lovelace said.

We wondered the same thing, and we went to check it out.

There are about seven toy aisles in Wal-Mart, and we counted about five security cameras that could probably get good video of the area, yet somehow Johnson still got away with it.

Walmart said this afternoon that creating a safe shopping environment is important to them.   They said, "In this case, we are cooperating fully with law enforcement as they conduct their investigation..."

However, some shoppers have their doubts.

"They can catch everyone who's stealing a piece of gum and stuff, but they can't catch that," said Wal-Mart customer Brandon McNutt.

One customer said the store is not the only one responsible here.

"Why weren't these kids' parents with them?  I mean why would they even leave them alone for something like this to happen," said Elizabeth Gonzalez, also a Wal-Mart customer.

For Mike, it is still hard to believe how time changes everything.

"It doesn't look anything [like him].  I didn't recognize him," Lovelace said.

Lufkin Police said this afternoon that they had not found any complaints about someone exposing themselves at Wal-Mart.  However, police said, they are investigating several other of these types of incidents to see if Johnson is connected.

The East Texas News has also learned that Johnson was working at the Lufkin Lowe's before he was arrested.  Lowe's said he is on a leave of absence pending the resolution of the issue with law enforcement authorities.