By Neil H. Dempsey
---- — SALEM — Police say a Peabody man was arrested after he was seen masturbating by three young girls he pulled up next to near the Canal Street car wash on Monday evening.
Stephen Edmunds, 26, of 286 Newbury St. was arrested on charges of three counts of open and gross lewdness — one count for each girl who witnessed the act, Lt. Mary Butler said.
Police received a report of the incident at just before 7 p.m. The girls — ages 10 to 13 — had been walking inbound on the sidewalk of Canal Street when the vehicle pulled up and stopped, Butler said. The incident didn’t last long, and the car quickly left the area.
The mother of one of the girls was nearby at the time but did not witness the act herself — she called police after hearing about it from the girls, Butler said. Sgt. Harry Rocheville caught up to Edmunds on Norman Street within minutes and arrested him without incident, Butler said.