Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that Phillip Stone, 33, of Lacey Township, 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 March 1, 2020, 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 specified location in Toms River. At the arranged meeting place, Stone was filmed and confronted by the private citizen. On March 2, 2020, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit and Special Victims Unit began an investigation into the authenticity of the uploaded video. 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 subsequently 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.
“As I stated earlier, investigations into criminal activity should be left to law enforcement professionals. Taking the law into your own hands is dangerous. We are very fortunate that no one got hurt today and we were able to take a child predator off the street,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Toms River Township Police Department for their swift action and collective assistance in this investigation.
The press and public are reminded that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.