They believed they were chatting with a 13-year-old, police say.
In reality, the person behind the keyboard was a grown man.
Over three days last week, detectives with Fort Worth’s Crimes Against Children Unit played out the ruse on various online sites.
And on eight different occasions, they say, the person on the other side made plans to meet with the young teen at a Fort Worth residence for a sexual encounter.
When they arrived, there was no teen, only members of the department’s special response team who swept in to make the arrest.
Arrested on suspicion of online solicitation of a minor were Christopher Danielson, 55; Derrick Toone, 25; Hayden Hinojoza, 24; Jesus Bustamante, 46, Jonathan Brown, 23; Scott Tosch, 49, and Oscar Constanza, 29.
The eighth suspect, Bailey Lowery Steelman, 21, faces a charge of prostitution/solicitation after police say he offered the “girl” $50 in exchange for sex.
Both charges are second-degree felonies punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service assisted in the sting.
That the sting netted eight suspects in just three days should be a warning sign to parents, said Sgt. Wade Walls, supervisor of the crimes against children unit.
“You’ve got to really monitor your children on the internet,” he cautioned. “These guys will try to manipulate and take advantage of your children.”
He said detectives plan to write additional online solicitation warrants for three others who could not meet with the “teen” because of scheduling conflicts but did engage in sexually explicit talk and sent sexually explicit photos.
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