The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested 23 men on Friday Sept. 27th after a four-day operation that was aimed at protecting children from online predators.
The successful plan known as “Operation Intercept VII’, took aim at those who scour the internet on various sites looking to engage in sexually explicit conversations with minors.
Those arrested range in age from 21 to 77 years of age, and were all men who responded to ads, apps and online social media sites. According to the Sheriff’s Office, all of the men traveled with the intention of meeting a minor for sex, (male or female).
Deputies say several of the men brought along condoms for protection, and one even brought a sex toy. One of the men arrested had sent more than 90 explicit photos of himself to someone he thought was a 14-year-old.
Sarasota County Sheriff Knight said:
“I wish I could say these operations were no longer needed but time and time again, even after we make dozens of arrests, these men keep coming back for more. In this digital world we live in, innocent children are far too accessible to predators. That is why, as parents, we have to get serious about prevention. Parents are the first line of defense and we will never stop reminding our community of that.”
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s office used their Facebook page to release a list of online Apps parents should know about. According to the sheriffs’ department, the graphic below shows the apps used by those looking to meet with minors.
To see the list of those arrested in this operation, including names, charges and mugshots, click HERE.
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