SARASOTA, Fla. (WSVN) — Over two dozen men have been arrested in a four-day sting to find online predators.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of 25 people during Operation Intercept VI. Detectives said the suspects range in age from 19 to 65, and they all traveled with the intent of having sex with a child.
Deputies said the suspects responded to Internet-based ads, online apps and social media where they engaged in “sexually explicit written and verbal conversations.”
“Unfortunately, the internet allows for easy and anonymous access to children by strangers who are hiding behind a computer screen. That is why these operations are paramount to ensuring our most vulnerable population is safe and protected,” Sheriff Tom Knight said. “The men arrested during this operation managed to blend into society and attempted to prey on children by developing a trust through promises to exploit them for sexual purposes.”
Detectives also warned about mobile apps that predators may use to target children. The list is an updated list from last year which initially consisted of nine apps. Detectives have now added an additional six apps.
The list includes Bumble, Snapchat, Kik, LiveMe, Holla, Whisper, Ask.fm, Calculator%, Hot or Not, MeetMe, Grindr, SKOUT, WhatsApp, TikTok and Badoo.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.