Local News

Nationwide BOLO issued for child sex offender from Spring Lake

Posted August 28, 2014 5:26 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2014 6:40 p.m. EDT

— Police say they have issued a nationwide be-on-the-lookout alert for a Spring Lake man accused of posing as a police officer and then sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.

A registered sex offender with a history of child-sex crimes, investigators say Nathan Lynn Cooley, 28, of 1317 Verlie Drive, lured the girl – walking on Odell Road to a library from school – into his vehicle by telling her he needed her help looking for his puppy.

After attacking her in a wooded area, police say, he dropped her off at a public library on Laketree Boulevard in Spring Lake.

The girl's mother reported the crime to police later that night.

Cooley is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 260 pounds. He is bald and has blue eyes and was last seen driving a beige or gold Mitsubishi Galant with a Virginia license plate.

Anyone with information about where he might be should contact the Spring Lake Police Department at 910-436-0350 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477.

Spring Lake Police Chief Troy McDuffie said Thursday that he's not sure if Cooley is still in the area but is confident that he will be found.

Despite reports that Cooley contacted local media outlets professing his innocence, McDuffie said he has not heard from him.

"If he's an innocent man, (he should) come in and talk to us, give us his side of the story," the police chief said. "We've had no communication with Mr. Cooley, but we're confident that, with the facts and evidence we have, we have the right man."

Cooley was convicted of attempted rape of a 13-year-old in Currituck County in 2005 and served three years in prison and two years' probation. In 2011, he was convicted of indecent liberties with a 15-year-old in Dare County and received five years' probation.