Thirty perverts targeting the surge of kids on-line due to school shutdowns had been busted in a Virginia sting operation referred to as “Operation COVID Crackdown,” authorities mentioned.
The investigation led to the arrest of suspects ranging in age from 20 to 74 and a mixed 68 felony prices, together with solicitation of a minor and tried indecent liberties, Fairfax County police mentioned Tuesday.
“Our detectives have remained vigilant and so they acknowledged the elevated risk posed by on-line predators in current weeks,” Main Ed O’Carroll mentioned in assertion. “I commend their skill to adapt throughout this unprecedented public well being pandemic and to take action within the curiosity of defending our kids and bringing justice to those that commit these repugnant crimes.”
The suspects — primarily from Virginia, although some reside in Maryland and Washington, DC — allegedly used on-line platforms to strike up specific conversations that ultimately led to solicitation of intercourse from investigators posing as youngsters.
Detectives then took the boys into custody once they arrived at agreed-upon areas, police mentioned.
School closures throughout the nation and a pointy uptick in college students utilizing on-line instruction have “inadvertently positioned them at greater threat of exploitation,” division officers mentioned.
“Mother and father are urged to carefully monitor their youngsters’s on-line actions and use out there safety settings to stop using age-inappropriate websites or platforms,” Fairfax County police mentioned.