Saturday, June 23, 2018
Public safety

Shopper's tip leads to child porn arrest outside Hillsborough mall

TAMPA — A curb outside a shopping center is not the most likely place to stumble upon child pornography.

But it's where deputies, acting on a shopper's tip, arrested a 29-year-old man with a laptop Thursday afternoon.

Someone passing by Benjamin Ashauer, of 5470 E Busch Blvd., saw he was watching the illegal images as he sat outside a retail center near his home at 9:30 a.m., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The passer-by called authorities, who sent out a detective from the Internet Predator Unit. Ashauer was still looking at the pictures of small children posing erotically as the detective arrived, authorities said.

Deputies say Ashauer gave them permission to examine his computer, and they found more pornographic images of children from infancy to age 12. He was arrested and faces 50 counts of possession of child pornography. He was being held Thursday on $375,000 bail at the Hillsborough County jail.

Ashauer told deputies he went to the Terrace Collections mall at 4941 E Busch Blvd. because it a had free Wi-Fi connection.

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