[UPDATED with More Victims Sought:] Steven Neil Paff, Registered and Monitored Sex Offender, Locked Up Due to a Mom's Tenacity
UPDATE, JULY 27, 9:31 A.M.: Convicted sex offender Steven Neil Paff pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday to annoying a 13-year-old girl inside a Foothill Ranch supermarket July 5.
But the 46-year-old transient may have more court pleadings in his future as a police agency in Los Angeles County has reportedly contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department about Paff.
As the Orange County Register reports, the LA County agency is investigating a similar case where the suspect vehicle matches the one Paff is said to have drove off in after the Foothill Ranch incident.
Paff, who is currently being held without bail, pleaded guilty to indecent exposure in October 1998 and again in May 2009, the paper reports.
As a result of his past and possible links to fresh cases, the Orange County Sheriff's Department is reaching out to the public for others who may have been victimized by the suspect. Call 949.770.6011 if you know anything.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 26, 10:58 A.M.: After a 13-year-old girl was bothered and followed around a Ralphs supermarket in Foothill Ranch by a strange man, she told her mother waiting in the car about the creepy July 5 encounter.
Mom wound up confronting the guy in the store, and he eventually made a beeline for the exit. But Mama Bear wasn't done with him, and her tenacity led to Friday's arrest of 46-year-old transient and convicted sex offender Steven Neil Paff.
Can't miss him: He's the one who was already wearing an ankle monitoring device.
The unidentified mother and daughter of Foothill Ranch capped a visit to the local 99 Cent Only store with a swing by Ralphs for ice cream and water. As mom waited in the car, the girl went in for the goods.
While she was in the market, the girl says a man in his 40s followed her from aisle to aisle trying to strike up conversation and mentioning his first name. Creeped out, the girl went to a checker for help, and the store employee escorted her to mom's car.
When told what had transpired in the store, the mother had her daughter, who was still visibly upset, lock herself inside the car before mom went into the store to confront the man. They exchanged words before he split. She ran after him and jotted down the make, model and license number of the car he sped off in.
The mother contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department, which patrols Foothill Ranch. As deputies launched an investigation, she spent a week scouring photos posted on the state sex offender database thanks to Megan's Law. She eventually found the man she was looking for and notified sheriff's investigators.
Thanks to his ankle-monitoring device, Paff was arrested Friday near his car in Orange and booked into Orange County Jail. The charge: annoying and molesting a child under 18, which is considered a felony because of his record as a sex offender.