Observant deputies catch sex offender at Millington YMCA

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Millington Family YMCA was full of families and children Thursday night.  Many of them were grateful a violent sex offender would no longer be showing up.

"There's a day care center in there, you know?" asked parent Jonathan Sexton.

Lanell Pittman, 65, was recently spotted working out inside the YMCA by two off-duty Tipton County Sheriff's deputies who happen to work out there as well.

"Even though they were off duty," said Sexton.  "They still took care of business," he added.

The deputies did not make the arrest themselves.  They contacted Shelby County deputies who later tracked down Pittman.

"They were diligent in their duties, off duty," said Chief Deputy Billy Daugherty with the Tipton Co. Sheriff's Office.  "And notified the proper authorities that this
subject was somewhere he was not supposed to be," added Daugherty.  "Around kids and in a place where kids can be present."

Pittman came to the Memphis area from Pascagoula, Mississippi where he was convicted of fondling a 9 year-old girl in 1994.  He even pleaded guilty to plotting the murders of the victim and her mother.

He joined the Millington YMCA in November 2008.  But he managed to go undetected for more than a year.

Pittman's photo was featured in a sex offender manual when he lived, for a time, in Tipton County.  The two deputies remembered seeing him in that book when they spotted him again.

"We're here to protect folks and that's what our deputies did that day at the YMCA," said Chief Deputy Daugherty.

Parents told Action News 5 it's frustrating knowing nowhere is safe when you have to count on sex offenders like Lanell Pittman to police themselves.  

Pittman is charged with, among other things, violating the sex offender registry.  He bonded out of jail Thursday morning.  Meantime, the YMCA sent us a statement re-affirming its commitment to the safety of its members.

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