FREEHOLD – A local man charged late last year with taking “upskirting” photos of two women in a Shrewsbury Borough supermarket has been rearrested and charged with numerous similar additional offenses, including eight involving victims who are believed to be juveniles, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Tuesday.
Christopher W. Cox, 33, of Red Bank is charged with eight counts of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child, nine counts of third-degree Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials, nine counts of third-degree Invasion of Privacy, two counts of fourth-degree Criminal Sexual Contact, and a single count of fourth-degree Possession of a Large-Capacity Gun Magazine.
An investigation involving members of the MCPO Special Victims Bureau and the Shrewsbury Borough Police Department has revealed the following facts:
Shortly before 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2022, a man later identified as Cox was seen entering the ShopRite of Shrewsbury on Shrewsbury Avenue, and shortly thereafter he began following female shoppers around the store, using his cell phone in a manner indicating that he was surreptitiously taking photos of them from behind. Cox was then seen exiting the store and leaving the area in a white Dodge Durango.
About a week later, shortly after 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 27, 2022, Cox was pulled over on Newman Springs Road in Red Bank. After initially obeying a command from an officer to exit his vehicle, Cox then quickly reentered the SUV and sped away from the scene, with the officer releasing his grip on him in order to avoid getting dragged by the vehicle. Cox was located in Little Silver shortly thereafter and taken into custody without incident.
The investigation ultimately led to the seizure of the aforementioned large-capacity gun magazine and numerous digital video files in Cox’s possession, most depicting girls and women being surreptitiously filmed from below using a cell phone placed in a grocery basket, duffel bag, or other means of conveyance. The incidents took place at the following times and locations:
- Shortly before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at the ShopRite Wines & Spirits on South Avenue East in Westfield (Union County);
- Shortly before 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at the ShopRite supermarket on West Grand Street in Elizabeth (Union County);
- Shortly before 1:15 p.m. on Monday, May 30, 2022 at the ShopRite of Shrewsbury;
- Shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday, July 1, 2022 at an unspecified Walmart;
- Shortly after 12:30 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022 at the ShopRite supermarket at the intersection of routes 36 and 71 in West Long Branch;
- Shortly after 2:45 p.m. on Monday, July 4, 2022 at an unspecified Foodtown supermarket;
- Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at the Whole Foods supermarket on Route 35 in Middletown; and
- Shortly before 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, 2022 at the ShopRite of Shrewsbury.
The investigation further determined that Cox has recently been employed as a plumber. The Criminal Sexual Contact charges against him are connected to incidents taking place on Friday, November 11, 2022 and Monday, January 2, 2023 in which he surreptitiously videotaped himself rubbing his pelvic area on clients while in their homes, in one case exposing himself and performing a lewd act.
This case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Lavender of the Special Victims Bureau. Cox is being represented by Christian Fleming, Esq., with an office in East Brunswick.
Cox was last arrested during a traffic stop in Shrewsbury Borough on Thursday, January 12. A detention hearing in this case has been tentatively scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 19. The State has filed a motion to keep Cox detained as the case against him proceeds.
“The conduct being alleged and the frequency of the incidents associated with the charges announced today are equally concerning and disturbing,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “We are urging anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Mr. Cox to please come forward and tell us what they know.”
A recent photo of Cox is being released along with this press release. Anyone with information about this matter is urged to contact MCPO Detective Sgt. Shawn Murphy at 800-533-7443 or Shrewsbury Borough Police Department Detective Daniel DeCristofaro at 732-741-2500, Ext. 230.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about this or any crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400, or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.
Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.