Operation Intercept catches 13 suspected predators

- Thirteen men detectives said came to a home expecting sex with minors were put in handcuffs instead.

It was a scene that repeated itself over and over for four days and nights. A car pulls into the driveway of a home in Sarasota County. A man gets out and heads to the front door.

After ringing the bell, they all wanted to run.

"It is really amazing about people's impulses that they can't resist the fact that they want to have sex with an underage child," said Sarasota Sheriff Tom Knight.

The 13 men were lured to the home by detectives posing as minors on sites like Kik, Backpage, MeetMe and Plenty of Fish. It was the fourth sting set up by Operation Intercept, which began catching suspected predators in 2012.

"I feel certain, if you watch the videos and you read about these individuals, that there is no doubt in my mind that this is not their first time," said Sheriff Knight.

The men range in age, from 18 to 53. Half of them were from the Sarasota area. Others came from Manatee, Desoto, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

The Sheriff said suspects like these use technology to their advantage, adding parents must keep up with the technology used by their children to make sure they don't become a victim.

"These kids are being preyed upon, so when they are out there surfing around and all of these different windows and apps and the things that we never did growing up, they need to understand their kids are in a different world than we grew up in," he explained.

Since the Operation Intercept started, 86 people have been arrested. The Sheriff said he has no intention of backing down until he shuts down every online predator.

"It is amazing, when we start them, I always hope that we will have results, but I hope we won't have the results. When we stop having people show up is when we will stop doing them," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about protecting these children that are being preyed upon out there, and who knows how many of these children have been effected by these 13 people," Sheriff Knight said.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Operation Intercept catches 13 suspected predators
  • Dunedin man facing explosive charges has mental health evaluation
  • Polk County Haunted Jail accepting visitors - if you dare
  • Pinellas Park shop cat, missing 5 years, returns thanks to microchip
  • TPD on Seminole Heights murders: 'Someone's terrorizing the neighborhood'
  • Seminole Heights residents hold vigil for murder victims
  • Dedicated veteran parking spaces coming to Home Depot
  • How to appeal a FEMA denial
  • Two injured in Hillsborough County house fire
  • Seminole Heights on high alert following 3 murders