Bradenton man arrested for inappropriate texts on Kik app

- A Bradenton man is in jail after police say he was sharing inappropriate texts, pictures and videos with a child.

Back in July, Bradenton Police got a tip that 44-year-old George Anthony Stevens was communicating with a female child under 18.

"We got a tip from the State Attorney's Office," said Det. Sgt. Anthony Cerniglia. "They were chatting between each other, they were sending videos and pictures, inappropriate pictures, to each other."

According to police, they were using the cell phone app "Kik." It's similar to any other smart phone messenger but requires a password to open.

Police say Stevens went by the usernames "teddybear4243" and "tommygun1975."

When we looked him up, we found the title, "Teddy bear girls only," a profile picture of a teddy bear wearing a t-shirt that said "I love you" and the words "Im a guy."

Tuesday, investigators searched Stevens' parents' home, where he was living, and he confessed. He was arrested but the investigation isn't over yet.

"We believe that there might be more victims out there," Cerniglia said.

That's why police find it crucial to put his usernames out there. Someone might recognize them.

This isn't the first time Stevens has been in trouble for something like this. Just last year, he was arrested for Traveling to Meet a Minor for Sex and Attempted Lewd and Lascivious Battery. That "minor" he thought he was messaging was actually Manatee County Sheriff's Deputy.

"He was actually awaiting sentencing on that so he did have some court restrictions that he had to stay with his parents and wasn't allowed to have access to internet or any computer equipment," Cerniglia said.

Stevens was charged with three felonies including Promoting the Sexual Performance of a Child.

Neighbors said they were aware of Stevens' past charges and had been concerned about kids in the neighborhood as well as the charter school just one street over.

Police say the victim in this case is not from our area. But, with more victims potentially out there, they advise parents to be knowledgeable about what's on their kids' phones.

"Sit down and talk to your child," Cerniglia said. "Talk to them about internet safety, using their cell phones. Make sure you have your child's password."
Stevens' remains in jail on no bond.

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