Internet sex sting ends in arrest, cops say
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE ” An adult who police say planned to have sex with a 14-year-old girl in his truck was arrested by Eagle County sheriff’s deputies Friday.
John Mark Love, 39, of Grand Junction, was arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual assault of a child, Internet luring of a child and enticement of a child, all felonies, officials said.
This is the second arrest Eagle County sheriff’s deputies have made since it implemented a program that targets online sexual predators eight months ago, said Kim Andree, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.
Love drove his tractor-trailer truck to Eagle about 5:30 p.m. where he planned to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl at a fast food restaurant. A Sheriff’s Office detective was posing as the girl, officials said.
Love planned to watch the movie “Ice Age” and then have sex with the girl in the truck, officials said.
He stopped to park his tractor-trailer truck at the Eagle County Fairgrounds and sheriff’s deputies arrested him, Andree said.
During an interview at the Sheriff’s Office, Love said he came to Eagle to have sex with the girl, officials said. Police also found the “Ice Age” DVD and player during a search of Love’s vehicle, officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies are working with the Grand Junction Police Department to inspect his computer to confirm whether Love had the online conversations with the detective and to look for other potential victims, Andree said.
Love is being held in the Eagle County jail on a $50,000 bond, officials said.
Love has no criminal history in Mesa County, according to county records.
Information on the arrest came late because administration at the Sheriff’s Office had not approved of its release, Andree said.
The investigation began in December 2006 when Love contacted an undercover detective posing as a 13-year-old girl (the fictitious girl turned 14 recently) in an Internet chat room, officials said.
Love had Internet and cell phone text message conversations with her and one telephone conversation, officials said.
Andree declined to release the content of the communication and officials did not know Monday how many times Love communicated with the detective.
The arrest was prolonged because this was the first time Love “could be with her,” Andree said.
“They had made several other arrangements but he was unable to come,” Andree said.
Sheriff’s deputies investigate online sexual predators often and the detective who communicated with Love specializes on those cases, Andree said.
Sheriff’s deputies posted a profile of a young girl on Web sites that young people go to, such as myspace.com, and wait for adults to contact her, she said.
“That’s part of our job,” Andree said. “We don’t solicit people. We wait for them to come to us.”
Sheriff’s deputies also pose as young girls with profiles stating their age in Internet chat rooms. Then they wait for potential predators to start conversations about sex, said Lt. Mike McWilliam of the Sheriff’s Office.
“You would think that after some of these Dateline ‘To Catch a Predator,’ they would be more careful, but they really aren’t,” McWilliam said.
Parents should monitor what Web sites their children access because online sexual predators troll Eagle County, Andree said.
“As a general rule, our community just thinks it doesn’t happen here,” she said.
The Grand Junction Free Press contributed to this article.
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