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Sex predator sting nets 30 in Sarasota | Crime

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Sex predator sting nets 30 in Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida -- Sarasota Sheriff's deputies arrested 30 people in their second online predator sting.

Sheriff's officials say all of the suspects responded to Internet-based ads or social media posts and engaged in sexually explicit conversations. They all also traveled to a location in the county with the intent of having sex with a child or children.

PHOTOS: Sarasota Sheriff's online predator sting nabs 30

In one case, investigators say the predator met what he thought was a child on a GPS-based online dating platform that tells people who is in your area and allows you to chat with them and send photos.

In another, the suspect posted an ad on a website known for prostitution and wanted only young girls. He thought he met a 14-year-old girl recently placed with new Foster parents and planned to pay her $60 for her services.

"This was our second operation to see what criminals prowled the Internet for the purpose of sexually exploiting children," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "We saw some frightening things that parents need to be aware of to properly protect their kids."

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office was able to conduct the intensive sting thanks to the help of multiple law enforcement agencies, the State Attorney's Office and members of the Central Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.

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