The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 31 people in a sting called Operation Intercept that was designed to protect Sarasota County’s children from online predators.
The suspects responded to Internet-based ads and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversations, ultimately agreeing to come to a location in Sarasota County with the intent to have sex with a child or children. When the suspects arrived they were met by detectives and placed under arrest.
“Predators establish contact with kids through chat rooms, instant messaging and discussion boards,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “The anonymity of the Internet allows these criminals to seem like caring individuals, but they’re only looking for vulnerable victims. Parents, you have to be your child’s protector and monitor what they are doing online.”
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office conducted this manpower-intensive operation with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Sarasota Police Department, Venice Police Department, North Port Police Department, Bradenton Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office and other members of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task force.
The following businesses generously assisted the operation by providing equipment and services: Matthews Currie Ford, Aaron’s Furniture, Quality TV, Total Air Solutions, Sleep Safe Alarms, Donato’s and Mi Pueblo.
To see a list of those arrested and their charges, click "Open PDF" at the bottom of the page.