Citrus County deputies: Child sex predator Harold Monk captured near Crystal River Mall

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. - UPDATE

Citrus County deputies have captured a known sex predator in a wooded area near the Crystal River Mall, according to reports from the scene. 

Harold Monk, who failed to register as a sex predator and had not reported to a probation officer, had been seen been hanging around the mall.

He was captured late Wednesday morning.

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Citrus County deputies are working the streets to find a child sex predator.

Deputies say they received information that Harold Monk has been hanging out at Crystal River Mall, particularly the movie theater, which draws a younger crowd.

The 42-year-old is a preferential offender, according to deputies, choosing children as his victims.  He served time behind bars for two counts of molesting a child under 12 years of age.

"We have to get him off the streets today," said Heather Yates, with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.  "He is a danger to children.  We are worried about the safety of the kids.  He has had a 5-year-old victim.  He did horrible things to that child."

Monk was released from prison in late December.  He was to meet his probation officer at the Crystal River bus station, but failed to do so.  Instead, deputies say he headed northbound on foot.

Monk also failed to register as a sex offender.  Authorities believe he may be homeless.

On Wednesday, deputies will hand out fliers at the mall with Monk's picture and a description of his crimes.

Kelly Post said she won't bring her kids to the area until Monk is caught.

"He needs to be found now," said Post.

Joy Brunswick brought her children to the mall Tuesday and noticed upped patrols.

"He is a sick puppy," said Brunswick.  "I can't wait until they arrest him."

Monk is 5'8" and weighs 175 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.

Anyone with information about Monk or his whereabouts is asked to call 911, or (352) 726-1121.

Yates encourages parents to keep a close eye on their kids.  She suggests parents walk their children to the bus stop and to have a talk with children about stranger danger.

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