Man takes photo of young girl in Publix; mom passes out fliers to warn others

Joseph Fezza, 64, issued trespass warning

DAVIE, Fla. - A South Florida mother has taken to social media to warn other parents about a registered sex offender in the area.

Joseph Fezza, 64 was issued a trespass warning and is no longer allowed  inside the Publix at 5997 Stirling Road, just west of U.S. Highway 441, after he was caught taking pictures of Maria Padilla-Leon's 9-year-old daughter on Monday.

Fezza deleted the pictures and told police it will never happen again. Police have also been to his Pembroke Pines apartment to check his home computer and no child pornography was found.

Padilla-Leon said she will be passing out fliers with Fezza's picture on it to make sure everyone is aware of the incident.

"Mr. Fezza, I need to talk to you about why you are taking pictures of kids in Publix," said Local 10's Jeff Weinsier.

"It was a mistake," said Fezza.

"You're a registered sex offender," replied Weinsier.

"I didn't do anything illegal," said Fezza. "I wasn't arrested."

"You took pictures of young girls in Publix," said Weinsier.

"One picture I took," said Fezza.

Padilla-Leon said she believes Fezza "is a sick individual."

"I believe he is a monster," she said.

Padilla-Leon said Fezza secretly began snapping pictures of her young daughter as they stood at the deli. Police were called, and it was learned Fezza was a sex offender who had been busted in the past for having child pornography.

"Yes, it was a picture of her standing in a supermarket, but what was he going to do with that picture -- her face?" asked Padilla-Leon.

Fezza told Local 10 he is sorry about the incident and said he may be bipolar.

According to a police report, Fezza not only had a picture of Padilla-Leon's daughter, but there were photographs of other women at other unidentified locations.

It appears the females were unaware they were being photographed, although none of the pictures were graphic in nature.

"You could see why a mother would be terrified," said Weinsier.

"Terrified? I don't molest girls," said Fezza. "I never touched anyone before in my life."

"You're taking pictures of girls in Publix," said Weinsier.

"Anyone can take pictures," said Fezza.

"Not normal," said Weinsier.

"Not normal?" asked Fezza.

Davie police said the law doesn't allow them to arrest Fezza for taking the picture.

"Unfortunately, for us in this case, it is a public place and there is no expectation of privacy," said Capt. Dale Engle.

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