Ocean County Child Predator Followed Girls Around Stores, Cops Say
HOWELL — A convicted sex offender was arrested after making inappropriate comments to a mother and daughter while they were shopping at a township store, and has been connected to similar incidents around town.
David F. Hohsfield, 62, from the Whiting section of Manchester, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with eight counts of harassment. The charges come from an incident on May 4 when Hohsfield was observed by the mother and daughter at the Target store, police said. Hohsfield reportedly followed the girl around, including into the children's swimsuit section, police said.
The girl and told her mother that Hohsfield was making "sexually explicit comments as he pretended to speak on his Bluetooth cell phone earpiece," police said. The girl then told her mother about Hohsfield's behavior. After learning about the incident, the mother told store security, but by that time the man had already left the store, police said.
Howell police also got word of a similar incident at the store on the same day. In that incident, a woman said she was at the nearby TJMaxx store with her 11-year-old daughter who reported hearing Hohsfield "making sexually explicit and vulgar comments," like the ones reported at Target, police said.
There were also similar incidents reported at the Walmart and Target on May 7.
"Due to the nature of these incidents, we knew we had a dangerous person in our community," said Chief Andrew Kudrick. "As such, it was our top priority to identify and apprehend this person."
Kudrick said officers "did an outstanding job" finding Hohsfield and arresting him so soon after the incidents were reported, which "potentially prevented a more serious outcome to others."
Hohsfield is a convicted Tier 3 sex offender, according to the New Jersey State Police. He has been arrested at least three times, according to State Police records, starting in 1997 when he was convicted on sexual assault charges in Bergen County. He was then convicted in 2002 on charges of endangering the welfare of a child in Middlesex County. Most recently he was was convicted in 2009 on charges of endangering the welfare of a child in Ocean County.
For his 2009 conviction, Hohsfield spent just over three years in jail, according to records from the New Jersey Department of Corrections. He was also charged with failing to register as a sex offender in 2014 and 2015, according to state records, as well as interference with a monitoring device in 2015. For his most recent convictions, Hohsfield spent three years in jail, before being released on February 13 of this year.
He is currently being held at the Monmouth County Jail.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case, including any other victims who have not reported similar incidents, to contact Detective Christian Antunez at email@example.com or Detective Janet Benitez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be submitted by calling 732-938-4111.