(Memphis) A man known by many as the “Candy Man” is in jail, accused of fondling one of his customers.
Police say children in a Southeast Memphis neighborhood buy snacks and other treats from Rudy Perez.
He sells it out of his apartment, which is less than a block away from Sparpe Elementary School.
“The little kids go over there,” said a woman in the neighborhood.
It’s a store but not really, and the man known as the “Candy Man’ is now in jail for allegedly touching one his customer’s private parts.
Police say it was a 23-year-old woman who came to Perez’ apartment to buy a snack.
The Candy Man’s roommate at the Prescott Place Apartments didn’t speak much English, so we used a translator by telephone.
He told us Perez sells toilet paper, soda, juices, bubble gum, things like that, and that it’s common in the Hispanic culture to have these sort of makeshift convenience stores.
“Anybody comes here to buy tortillas, cards, little things for their kids,” said Ernesto Luis-Sanchez in Spanish.
Unfortunately, in Memphis, operating a business without a license and inside an apartment is illegal.
“That is real bad,” said Neighbor Gynis Hicks. “Stores? Fine. But somebody’s house? No.”
Perez’s roommate says he wasn’t there when police confronted the Candy Man about touching a customer without her consent.
“I was really surprised,” said Louis-Sanchez.
Perez is charged with sexual battery. He’s in jail on a $5,000 bond.