HOUSTON -

A Houston mother said a man tried to fondle her little boy as he sat in the family's SUV outside a fast-food restaurant.

It all happened around 2 p.m. Saturday at a restaurant on Bellaire near Cook Road in southwest Houston.

Houston police said the 5-year-old boy's mother left her son in the passenger seat of the family's SUV with the windows down and the engine running while she went inside to order food. Police said that's when a man walked up, opened the door, reached inside and tried to unzip the little boy's pants to fondle him.

Police said the quick-thinking boy used the only weapon he had, his voice, and screamed for help, scaring the man away.

Pat Randle visits the strip center all the time and he said he's not surprised at the news.

"There's many strange people around here. To tell the truth, there's plenty of strange people around here," Randle said.

The strip center where the crime happened is close to two schools, including a nursing school that Ify Emenaha and her husband are about to open.

"Sometime they may bring their kids, so it's important that we know. So we are going to warn our students," Emenaha said.

One parent, who only gave his first name, said he has some advice to keep something like this from happening.

"The best thing I could say is always keep them with you in eyesight. It's not safe to leave them by themselves," said Will.

Juvenile sex crimes investigators said they hope to get more information when they interview the little boy at the Children's Assessment Center.

Anyone with information about the attacker is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.