A Mira Mesa man accused of sexually battering women while they were shopping faces more than a dozen additional counts of lewd conduct and sexual battery, according to the San Diego City Attorney's office.
Ji Hoon Yong, 25, was arrested Jan. 4 after an observant shopper at a Walmart on Center Drive in San Marcos called the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to report him as the man seen in security camera footage shown on NBC 7 and other local media outlets.
At the time of his arrest, Yong was accused of three incidents in North County at local stores where he walked up to women from behind, grabbed their shoulders, then pressed himself against their backsides. When the startled victims turned to confront him, the man claimed he had confused them for being one of his friends.
Investigators said security video showed Yong inappropriately touching himself underneath his clothing before and after the assaults.
The SDSO said at the time that the North County incidents took place at a Target on University Drive in Vista on Dec. 18; at a Michael’s store on University Drive in Vista on Dec. 24; and at a Ralph’s grocery store on South Twin Oaks Valley Road in San Marcos, also on Dec. 24.
On Friday, the San Diego City Attorney's office said Yong was also a suspect in at least seven other attacks on women that mostly occurred earlier and farther south, ranging from an incident at a Ralph’s supermarket on La Jolla Village Drive on July 4 -- where investigators said the victim reported the attack to a manager who gave chase, forcing Yong to flee so fast he left his shoes behind -- to Dec. 20 at two locations, a CVS in Clairemont and a Walmart in Kearny Mesa Walmart.
The crimes Yong is suspected of began in San Diego in businesses in La Jolla, Clairemont, Mira Mesa and Kearny Mesa, the city attorney's office said, adding that he now faces charges in 10 similar crimes brought by the San Diego County District Attorney.
"For at least six months, Yong repeatedly molested unsuspecting victims while they shopped," San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said in a news release circulated on Friday. "When caught, he pretended like his unwelcome conduct was a misunderstanding. His victims knew better and reported him to law enforcement."
Yong is set to be arraigned on the San Diego city misdemeanor charges next week. He is being held on $100,000 bail, though city prosecutors are expected to ask for that to be increased.
Trial is set on the North County charges on March 3.
Investigators believe there may be more victims of Yong's attacks and are urging anybody with information to contact them at 619-533-5624.