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Police: Child beaten with belt outside Whitehall Twp. store

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 09:03:40 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 04:33:20 AM CST

Police: Child beaten with belt outside store

WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. -

Investigators in Lehigh County are looking for a man they say was seen by close to a dozen witnesses beating a child with a belt.

Police say it happened Wednesday around 5:30 p.m. inside the Home Depot store on MacArthur Road, Whitehall Township.

Witnesses told police they saw the man with a doubled over belt in his hand repeatedly striking the child believed to be around 6 to 7 years old.

They also said he was accompanied by a woman believed to be his wife holding a baby.

Police say several customers tried to intervene on behalf of the child while others called 911.

Witnesses told police they saw the couple drive off in a white Infiniti and were able to give detectives the license plate number.

Police say they've identified the man but won't release his name because he currently isn't facing any charges.

Attorney David Vaida says even though the law allows for discipline of a child, there can be a point where it crosses over into child abuse which is where charges could stem from.

“You could have simple assault, you could have aggravated assault, you could have endangering a child. So without knowing the exact facts it becomes hard to know what the level of trouble is but it could be trouble,” said Vaida.

Investigators are now looking for the man and want to bring him in for questioning.

“Is the child OK? is he injured? is this an isolated incident or is this a pattern of abuse? These are all things that we're going to be looking into today,” said Lt. Ribello Berton.

The manager of the Home Depot would not comment on the incident.