New charges were filed Friday against a previously-convicted sex offender who is accused of installing hidden cameras in the bathrooms of local businesses, including in the Stater Bros. in Cathedral City.
Desert Hot Springs resident Jason Pomare, 41, was charged with three felony counts of possessing matter depicting a child in a sexual act, as well as 10 misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a concealed camera to secretly videotape.
When his arrest was announced on Tuesday, Pomare was facing 13 misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct - illegal video recording in a public restroom and 11 felony counts of being a repeat offender of the above-mentioned crime, according to the Cathedral City Police Department.
Pomare, a former Palmdale resident, was arrested on May 11, 2013 after he was caught recording women in a Macy' restroom at the Antelope Valley Mall while dressed as a woman, according to KCAL.
According to the Antelope Valley Times, Pomare pled guilty to six misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a concealed camera for purposes of sexual gratification and one count of resisting arrest.
He was sentenced to five years summary probation, time-served (20 days in county jail), five years of sex-compulsion classes, was ordered to stay 200 yards away from the Antelope Valley Mall and required to register as a sex offender in accordance with Megan's Law.
According to CPPD, despite the fact that Pomare is a previously-convicted sex offender, "his commitment to register has been completed".
On Monday, CCPD officers responded to the Stater Bros located at 69255 Ramon Road in Cathedral City for a report of a video camera found in the store's public bathroom. The officers, along with members of the Stater Bros. Corporate security team determined that the "small, covert camera" had been installed for the purpose of illegal video monitoring/surveillance, according to CCPD.
A bail increase declaration from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office revealed that Pomare's bail was originally set at $35,000. County jail records listed bail as
Further investigation led law enforcement to Pomare. He was arrested on the 13000 block of Eliseo Road in Desert Hot Springs at 5:51 p.m. Monday, according to county jail records.
It is unclear at this time how long the camera had been installed in the store's restroom.
CCPD's Tuesday release mentioned that additional restaurants and retail establishments had been targeted by Pomare for "conducting illegal surveillance of adults and children", but did not specify locations outside of the supermarket.
The targeted businesses have been notified and are cooperating with the investigation, but were not listed in the CCPD news release.
Investigators are still searching for other locations that may have been targeted.
"CCPD Detectives are actively working this case and have determined there are other retail and restaurant establishments throughout the Coachella Valley where similar cameras have been utilized - by the suspect - for the purpose of conducting illegal surveillance of adults and children inside public restrooms," read the CCPD news release. "The other known businesses are being notified and are cooperating with law enforcement, while the investigation continues."
CCPD detectives are urging local business owners to check their public areas, not just bathrooms and changing rooms, to "verify the safety of their customers and employees."