BY CINDY KRANZ • CKRANZ@ENQUIRER.COM • JULY 19, 2010
MONTGOMERY – The Ingle children's lemonade stand started as a sweet childhood ritual on a hot Saturday afternoon.
Their venture ended on a sour note when a convicted felon from Brown County pulled up outside their Montgomery home, paid for lemonade and masturbated in his car while he drank from the paper cup.
Larry Cottrell, 35, of Fayetteville was arrested later that afternoon and charged with public indecency. He pled guilty to the charge Monday before Judge Fanon A. Rucker at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Cottrell is scheduled to be sentenced by Rucker July 27. He faces a jail sentence of 180 days on the misdemeanor charge.
Ironically, Rick and Heather Ingle's five little entrepreneurs, ages 6-9, had been writing "God Loves You" on slips of paper and handing them out with the lemonade. They had run out of paper, so their mother had gone back into the house for more.
Back outside, when Heather Ingle discovered Cottrell masturbating in his car, she had the tools she needed - paper and a marker - to write down his license plate number as he slowly pulled away from the curb.
"It was just really by God's grace that it all worked out," she said. "I understand a lot of times they are not able to catch these individuals, so we were fortunate."
The Ingles have 14 biological and adopted children, most with special needs. Community volunteers just completed a makeover of their home, detailed in a May 6 Enquirer story, making it wheelchair-accessible.
The family has had dozens of lemonade stands. The children decided to set up another one Saturday. They made the lemonade and the sign and moved a table outside their home in the 10300 block of Southwind Drive.
They were charging 10 cents. Normally, they raise money for a cause. This day, the proceeds were earmarked for Montgomery Community Church, where they attend.
Cottrell pulled his car up along side the curb for lemonade. The children handed him a cup of lemonade through the open passenger side window. He threw a coin in their money cup.
On Ingle's way back to the stand, she heard him ask for another cup and saw what he was doing. He saw her, she said, and he continued to masturbate. Then, he slowly drove off without any sense of urgency.
"I was just furious at what I had just seen," she said. "My first thought was to yell something to him. I had children out there, so I had to keep them safe. I didn't know what he would do."
So, she got the license number and called 9-1-1 to report the man in the red Chevrolet Lumina.
When she talked to her kids, she learned that two of them, both girls, saw Cottrell touching his penis, Ingle said.
"I talked with all of the children involved, and we were able to talk about what to do if this happens, to bring to their attention that showing your private parts in public is illegal. It's against the law. The children didn't know that."
She ended the conversation with an invitation to talk again, if they wanted, about what they had just seen.
"I pray they don't have nightmares. So far, everything has been OK."
She credited Montgomery Police sergeants Greg Vonden Benken and Mike Plaatje, who lives next door and was on duty, and detective Jim Lacalameto, for their work in apprehending Cottrell.
"He was in this area, because his mom was at Bethesda North Hospital," Ingle said. "They tracked him down at Bethesda North. They are the ones who deserve the kudos for the great police work that they did to catch him."
Ingle is sharing her story to warn other parents that you can't be too careful - even in the shadow of an innocent lemonade stand outside your own home.
"I don't want any other parents to ever have to go through this," Ingle said.
Because the children had run out of paper, Cottrell didn't get a slip of paper with his lemonade. But, as the car pulled away, one of her boys called to him, "God Loves You!"
"I'm glad he heard it, because it is true. Our family is committed to pray for him," Ingle said. "I hope, in the end, that he will serve the time, but as he's serving time, I pray he gets support and the help that he needs.''
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