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Lakeland man accused of exposing himself to underage McDonald's employee in drive-thru

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Posted at 12:20 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 12:20:48-05

LAKELAND, Fla. — A 34-year-old man in Lakeland is facing charges after authorities said he exposed himself to an underage McDonald's drive-thru cashier in September.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Charlie Cook placed an order one morning, paid for and picked up his food as usual. Then authorities said Cook went through the drive-thru a second time and exposed himself to the underage employee when he reached the second window, calling the girl by the name displayed on her name tag.

The girl immediately closed the window and alerted management, who called the sheriff's office. Authorities said employees were unable to identify Cook and only had a description of his vehicle, but they told authorities he was a regular.

Two weeks later, the sheriff's office said Cook returned to the McDonald's and employees were able to provide a possible name from his debit card and his license plate number.

Cook was positively identified and booked into the Polk County Jail on Tuesday. He was released after posting $750.00 bond. The sheriff's office said Cook admitted to exposing himself.

Cook is charged with indecent exposure and committing a lewd act.

Cook was previously arrested in 2017 during an undercover operation for offering to send a 15-year-old girl naked photos of himself. According to the sheriff's office, in that incident, Cook met the underage victim while working as a youth leader at a local church.

“We previously arrested Charlie Cook during an undercover child pornography investigation - he was sending nude images to a 15-year-old girl he met as a youth leader at a church," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "Now here he is again, trying to groom and solicit a child. He clearly wasn't rehabilitated or held accountable back in 2017, but we will do everything in our power to ensure he is held accountable now.”