TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - In a bizarre story that has people doing a double take, police say they are taking it very seriously.
It was a teenager who was targeted while working in a west Toledo mall, and the man in question ended up getting his hands on her feet and believe it or not, sucking on her toes.
What happened to Melissa Portala's daughter while at work was traumatic. But after sharing her story on Facebook to warn others, she said more women came forward, explaining their run ins with the same man and that they were far worse.
Just before Christmas, Portala's 18-year-old daughter asked her to listen to her whole story without saying a word.
"I was stunned, absolutely stunned. I had no words, I was speechless," Portala said.
The alleged toe-sucker is Joseph Jones. He was described as a well-dressed, engaging man, who complimented the teen on her shoes.
"He asked to see her shoes, he said he liked her shoes," Heffernan said.
"He subsequently ended up sucking her toes and her foot, and she froze and didn't know what to do," Portala said. "He did kiss her on the cheek and told her he would be back."
Portala got her daughter to file a police report, but decided others still needed to be warned.
She printed out a flyer and began passing them out to managers at stores in the Franklin Park Mall to warn them about what police say Jones did to her daughter.
"I had a responsibility as a mother and to these other women," Portala said.
While she was posting the flyers, Portala was asked to stop by mall security.
"No matter how good your intentions are, you have to obey someone's orders on private property and listen to police officers when they tell you, you have to leave," Heffernan said.
"He said you are going to be arrested for doing that, and I flippantly said 'well you are going to have to arrest me and stop me from warning these women.' I said it flippantly not thinking they would actually arrest me," Portala said.
But they did.
Even though it was only a minor setback in her mission, then a victory.
Police were able to catch up to Jones and arrest him for this incident. He was charged with sexual imposition. Police believe he may be linked to at least another similar incident.
"Right now, his behavior can certainly be considered as odd and to his victims it's concerning, so we wanted to get him into custody," Heffernan said.
Just as police suspect, Portala says she knows he has other victims. A post on her Facebook has flooded her page with comments and private messages.
"Other women pouring their hearts out to me on Facebook and in private messages with horrific stories, and I knew this man was escalating his horrific behaviors, and if I remained silent, I would be contributing to this horrific behavior, and I cannot stay silent," Portala said.
Jones is now out of jail and back on the streets after posting bond. Portala believes the only way he will remain behind bars is if other women have the courage to come forward and report this happened to them to police, not just on Facebook.