According to authorities, the suspect set up phony Facebook accounts and posed as a teenage girl in order to lure his underage victims.
Investigators believe that the suspect has thousands of “friends” on Facebook. He reportedly uses at least two known Facebook accounts, which he managed out of a residence in Coconut Creek, Florida.
The suspect allegedly used the social media site to interact with females between the ages of 15 and 17. According to Margate police, the suspect exclusively targeted girls who were less than 18 years old.
The Margate Police Department conducted an extensive investigation into the suspect’s alleged misconduct. Investigators believe that the suspect created accounts and pretended to be young, pretty girls named Amanda Panzone and Kaitlyn Beth.
According to police, the suspect’s modus operandi was to send “friend requests” and private messages to female minors. The suspect would then try to convince the young girls to give him their phone numbers. The transition from Facebook to telephone conversations was crucial for the suspect’s later efforts to get the girls to meet him.
The suspect allegedly asked at least two girls if they would be willing to have sex with an older man in exchange for financial compensation.
One of the suspect’s alleged victims was a 15-year-old girl who met the suspect. According to the victim, she entered the suspect’s car; he then penetrated her digitally. Remarkably, the suspect reportedly had a baby boy in the back of the vehicle at the time of the illegal sexual encounter.
A few months later, the suspect again allegedly contacted the victim. This time, they reportedly met at a hotel and had sex. The victim told police that the suspect later purchased a contraceptive pill from a pharmacy and insisted that she take it.
Another alleged victim was a 16-year-old girl. According to police, the suspect met the victim at a hotel; the two of them then had sex.
Police eventually arrested the suspect. He has been charged with several sex crimes, including multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor. He also faces charges for traveling to meet a minor for sex.
Police are urging local parents to be aware of what their children are doing online. Parents should monitor their kids’ Facebook accounts and be on the lookout for online sexual predators.
Margate police fear that more victims could exist throughout South Florida and Central Florida. If anyone has information about the suspect or any illegal acts committed by the suspect, please contact the Margate Police Department at 954-935-5492.
For more information about this case, access the WSVN.com article entitled “Man Poses as Teenage Girls on Facebook to Lure Girls into Sex.”