PINELLAS PARK (FOX 13) - A man has been sending sexually explicit text messages to real estate agents in Pinellas County and investigators say they were able to track him down and arrest him.
There are 21 alleged cases of the unwanted communications being sent to real estate agents from Gulfport to Clearwater.
Detectives with Pinellas County's Burglary and Pawn Unit started investigating in mid-June after a victim came forward. The detectives were able to connect 21 other cases reported by multiple real estate agents to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Gulfport Police Department, Clearwater Police Department, and Treasure Island Police Department.
They were able to identify the suspect, 48-year-old Reginald Bernard Nelson, who is transient, as the man sending the sexually explicit text messages.
Nelson admitted he would find the numbers for female realtors in local advertisements contact them with inappropriate images or texts, according to detectives.
He was arrested in a parking lot near 43rd Street and Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park and taken to the Pinellas County Jail. Nelson faces one count of felony cyber stalking and investigators say more charges are pending.
Local agents, meanwhile, are breathing a sigh of relief knowing officers are working on this case and have a suspect in custody. But they say the risk of running into shady suspects is always in the back of their minds.
Agent Nina Becker with Dufala Realty Group says she's had her share of uncomfortable situations.
"It makes me feel very very uncomfortable, because I know it could be me or any of my coworkers," Becker said.
A drive down any street in Pinellas County will give you access to the names, phone numbers, email address, and even pictures of real estate agents on front yard for sale signs. Becker says it's just part of the business, but it has its drawbacks.
"We have to get our faces out there and market ourselves. Here's my phone number, here's my email address. Call me. Email me," she explained. "It's really sad to hear someone takes advantage of it in that kinda way."
Many realty groups have rules to help keep their agents as safe as possible. Becker says she and her team meet clients at their office and ask to see identification before showing a home.