A man on the NC Sex Offender Registry was arrested Monday afternoon at Smithfield Community Park. Smithfield Police said officers received a drug complaint and after arriving located the suspect near the restrooms.
Jonathan Bryan Hartgrove, 38, of Swift Creek Road, Smithfield was in the vicinity of approximately 15 children ranging in age from toddlers to teens, police said. As a condition of his release, Hartgrove is prohibited from being in public locations where children may be present including parks, swimming pools, libraries, schools and child care centers.
Police said they located a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his bookbag. Officers also recovered a liquid that field-tested positive for methamphetamines. The liquid has been sent to the NC SBI lab for further analysis.
Hartgrove was charged with a felony sex offender violation and felony possession of methamphetamines. He was held on a $250,000 secured bond at the Johnston County Jail.
Police said there was no evidence Hartgrove had approached or made contact with any children at the park but he was in violation of the conditions of his court ordered release.
Hartgrove was convicted in 2014 for the third degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He received 12 months probation and was placed on the Sex Offender Registry. Hartgrove was convicted in 2018 in Wake County for a sex offender violation and was released in July 2020, according to the NC Department of Public Safety website.