Sex Offender Offers $100K For Girl, Mom Makes Him Regret It

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An elderly man spotted a young girl shopping with her mother at a Winn Dixie grocery store and decided to strike up a conversation. After making “creepy” comments about the girl’s looks, the man shouted after the mother to “make a deal with him.” That’s when the mom made sure he regretted it.

Lauren Benning
John and Lauren Benning from Florida are the parents of the 8-year-old girl in this case. (Credit: Facebook)

Lauren Benning took her 8-year-old daughter for a shopping trip to their local Winn Dixie when she was approached by Hellmuth Kolb. “He just came up and he started making comments about how pretty she was and how good her dancing was and how he could never have children and he wanted children,” Benning reportedly said. Although the mother found the elderly man “creepy,” she continued shopping.

Those who prey upon the most vulnerable in our society and are hellbent on doing unspeakable acts are some of the vilest criminals. Any abuse against a child is unfathomable, but that’s especially true in this case, involving 85-year-old Kolb, who is a registered sex offender from Florida.

Hellmuth Kolb (Credit: Screenshot)

However, when she left the store, things took a sinister turn. Kolb, originally from Austria, shouted after the woman and asked her to “make a deal” with him, yelling at her across the parking lot that he wanted to buy her daughter for $100,000 dollars. That’s when the mother called the police, who were already familiar with Kolb. They found him on a bench outside of the store and asked about the incident. The elderly sex offender laughed and said, “We all like kids.”

The Port Orange Police Department launched an investigation and found that the elderly man was on probation for “similar issues.” In fact, Lauren Benning was in “complete shock” when law enforcement informed her this wasn’t the first time Kolb had tried to buy a child. According to WFTV, “In 2018, Kolb was arrested after police said he was accused of attempting to buy an 8-year-old girl from her mother for $200,000 at a Walmart. In that case, he was given five years of probation and ordered to stay away from children outside of his family.”

Helmuth Kolb and his wife after his 2018 arrest (Credit: Screenshot)

“Unfortunately for him, we were able to confirm through his Probation Officer that Mr. Kolb is currently on probation for similar issues, and he is not to have any contact with minor children,” police said. Authorities said Kolb’s exchange at Walmart in 2018 was caught on surveillance camera. He was identified through his credit card transaction and social media, where yet another woman described a similar experience.

Tracy Nigh, who was the mother of the girl from the 2018 case, took to social media at the time to describe her horror. “Shook, rocked, and shocked to the core,” Nigh wrote. “A man at the Port Orange Walmart offered me 200k for my child today. Grabbed her by the arm and kissed her wrist. My 8-year-old little girl!!!! We are pressing charges.” However, Kolb was only given probation, and that’s how he was free to offend again. In both cases, he later told police he had no memory of making the offers or touching any children.

Lauren Benning
Lauren Benning the mother of the child, spoke to the media and reportedly said, “He needs to be locked up and not allowed to be around our children.” (Credit: Screenshot)

When Lauren Benning heard the entire story of how the Florida sex offender started “bidding” for the 8-year-old girl at Walmart and had accosted the child, she did everything in her power to make sure this never happens again. “I spent the entire day yesterday working with the police department, the probation office and officer, and the state’s attorneys office,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am blown away by the support and urgency that was given to our concerns and followed through on this with the best possible result. I was given confirmation he was in custody with no bond. THIS IS REAL.”

The police department also gave the community an update on this situation. “After a thorough investigation, The Port Orange Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) responded to Sterling Chase Drive in Port Orange. At that location, they located and arrested registered sexual offender, Hellmuth Kolb,” they posted. “Mr. Kolb should have simply stuck to just grocery shopping. Thanks to our SIU, Mr. Kolb did receive a complimentary ride in one of our air-conditioned police cars.”

Grateful for the outcome, Lauren Benning and her husband John gave thanks to those in law enforcement. “John Benning and I can’t thank the Port Orange Police Department enough for how diligent they were in dealing with my frantic concern to have this man arrested after learning this was not the first time he has done this,” she wrote.

The young mother then warned other parents to trust their gut instincts. “Watch your babies CLOSE and when you feel something is off…IT IS,” she said. “Stand up for what you know is right and what is wrong. I am feeling extra grateful this morning that my daughter is safe and I have the support of this community.” Meanwhile, Data by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that there were 917,771 registered sex offenders in the United States and its territories, according to a report published by last year. So, it is best we all heed Lauren Benning’s advice and remain diligent.