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April 24, 2019

N.J. authorities arrest police officer, high school teacher, more accused of luring minors

N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the multi-agency sting operation highlights the need for safe Internet use

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common places for germs Thom Carroll/

Some of the most germ-infested places include public transportation.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the results of a multi-agency sting operation, called “Operation Home Alone”, which led to the arrests of 16 men who allegedly targeted minors for sexual encounters through social media and smartphone apps.

Grewal and Bergen County Prosecutor Dennis Call announced the arrests at a press conference Wednesday.

“The 16 men we arrested allegedly used social media to stalk victims they believed were vulnerable children who could be sexually exploited,” Grewal in a release Wednesday. “Fortunately, their victims were really undercover officers prepared to put them in handcuffs.”

The “children” whom the 16 accused men targeted were actually undercover police officers. The majority of the men arrived at residences in New Jersey, expecting to find the minor they believed they were communicating with. Instead, they were arrested.

The men arrested include a police officer with the Ridgewood Police Department, a high school teacher in the Bronx, a dental hygienist from New York, a barbershop owner in Passaic, and a traveling minister from Philadelphia.

You can find the full list of the defendants and their individual criminal charges here.

Grewal and New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan both explained Wednesday that parents should use this moment as a reminder that it’s a good idea to monitor social media usage.

“Parents need to be aware of their children’s activities on the internet, and if children appear anxious or evasive when this topic is raised, it may be a red flag,” Grewal said. “It is critical that parents talk to their children about social media and chat apps to let them know that the people they encounter may not be who they initially seem to be.”

Two of the defendants are also charged with allegedly possessing child pornography.

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