Most people know they can go to the state database and search a home address to find if any sex offenders live nearby. However, it may not occur to people that they should also search the addresses where they shop.
A total of 17 sex offenders, seven of them predators, list the Walmart in Cocoa as their home. Many of the offenders listed the Walmart as their home but actually live in a homeless site near the superstore, the Brevard County Sheriff’s office told WESH.
In Orlando, 13 sex offenders list the intersection of John Young Parkway and Princeton Street as home. There’s a Walmart there, and like Cocoa, a homeless camp across the street.
In a written statement, a corporate spokesman for Walmart said, “It’s disappointing to know that law enforcement allows convicted felons to use our store as their proximity address. We disagree with such a practice and must refer any other questions to police.”
Walmart stores are not the only retailer upset with the practice.
One sex offender lists his address as “behind the Bravo Supermarket” at Silver Star and Hiawasse roads.
The manager was unaware.
“We feel offended by him that he is using our store as his address,” Freddy Rodriguez said.
It was not immediately clear how the sex offenders were able to list store addresses as their primary residences, but law enforcement officials said changing the sex offender registration process to keep transient offenders from using businesses as an address would require action from state lawmakers.