Lacey man charged with trying to allegedly lure ’14-year old girl’ for sex
Ocean County law enforcement worked quickly in their investigation into a video posted by an unknown individual who pretended to be a 14-year old girl a Lacey Township man wanted to meet for intercourse.
The video, released on Sunday, detailed the alleged conversation that took place between the two men...the private citizen and the Lacey Township resident.
As Toms River Police, Lacey Police and the Ocean County Prosecutors Office had a chance to investigate the video and its content, they placed 33-year old Phillip Stone under arrest on Monday afternoon.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced that Stone was charged with Luring in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6, as well as Attempted Sexual Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c(4).
On Sunday, a private citizen uploaded a video to YouTube depicting a chat on the social media app 'Skout' between himself, posing as a 14 year-old, and Stone.
During the course of the chat, Stone solicited the person whom he believed to be a minor to have sexual relations, and it was agreed that they would meet at a specific location in Toms River.
At the arranged meeting place, Stone was filmed and confronted by the private citizen.
On Monday, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit and Special Victims Unit began an investigation into the authenticity of the uploaded video.
Their investigation revealed that Stone believed he was chatting with a minor, arranged the meeting, and had indeed solicited the minor for sexual relations.
Stone was located and taken into custody and transported to the Toms River Police Department for processing.
He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
However, Prosecutor Billhimer asks residents to let law enforcement handle any and all investigations into alleged criminal behavior.
“Investigations into alleged criminal activity must be conducted by trained law enforcement officials -- with the assistance of members of the public when and where appropriate. Private citizens who take it upon themselves to investigate what they believe to be criminal conduct may compromise the potential investigation. They can also find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Please leave criminal investigations to the professionals,” Prosecutor Billhimer said. "We are very fortunate that no one got hurt today and we were able to take a child predator off the street."
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