A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of stalking and photographing female students near Santa Cruz high schools, police said. Detectives arrested Santa Cruz resident Joshua Paul James on Tuesday after two student athletes at Santa Cruz High School told them that a suspicious person had followed them in a car as they ran through the neighborhood as part of their training on Monday, Santa Cruz police said.
On Tuesday, detectives were following up on the previous day’s report when more suspicious activity was reported near Pacific Collegiate School on Swift Street, according to police. A male suspect appeared to be photographing or filming female students on or near school grounds, police said. Descriptions of the suspect in both incidents were similar, police said. Detectives looked for the suspect’s vehicle and found his car parked in a lot near Front and Laurel streets.
James got into the car and officers initiated a vehicle stop, police said. He was interviewed and then arrested for possessing obscene matter depicting children, annoying children and stalking. Police allege that James was filming and photographing the teen girls, who are between the ages of 13 and 15, for the purpose of sexual gratification.
Detectives served a search warrant at James’ home in the 300 block of Buena Vista Avenue and searched his car, a white 2007 Toyota Yaris. Detectives seized photography equipment, storage cards and computer equipment. Police said they are in the process of going the through the images and hard drives to identify any additional victims. James was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail and was being held on $250,000 bail.
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