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Suspect arrested in Target assault

Allen D. Coates was arrested in Kentucky Wednesday.
Allen D. Coates was arrested in Kentucky Wednesday.

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A Kentucky man has been charged with the sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl at a Target retail store in West Virginia. WSAZ's Justin Gray and Shelly Slater report (July 17)
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SOUTH CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) -- A Kentucky man has been charged with the sexual assault of an 11- year-old girl at a Target store.

Surveillance camera images of the suspect leading the girl through the store have been broadcast nationally.

Allen D. Coates, 37, of Irvington, Kentucky, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in the downtown area of Louisville, where he is being held at the Metro Corrections Facility. The arrest followed a "very detailed, very thorough" out-of-state tip, according to South Charleston Police Chief D.W. Dunlap.

Coates has been charged with sexual assault and kidnapping, Dunlap said.

Authorities also said the suspect is linked to a July 11 sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl at a Wal-Mart in Ashland, Kentucky, about 50 miles from South Charleston.

Dunlap said the family of the victim is "elated" with news of the arrest.

The girl was assaulted July 12 at knifepoint after she and her mother separated in the store to do individual shopping, authorities say.

Surveillance video from inside the store shows a man wearing a gray, sleeveless T-shirt, baseball cap and shorts roaming the aisles. Just before the sexual assault, he can be seen holding the girl's hand and leading her through the store.

A NASA laboratory enhancement of the surveillance tape provided a clearer view of the man's face. Dunlap said the enhanced images were useful in the investigation.

CNN Correspondent Mike Brooks contributed to this report.


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