Last week, Metro police in Vegas busted two sexual predators. An uplifting note to these busts is that citizens helped turn them in. The story is pasted below – Please click the link for mugshots of the dirtbags and the video component to the story (which is very well produced).
Metro police are crediting alert citizens with the arrest of two sexual predators. Both were arrested in the past week as part of Metro’s “It’s Never OK” Campaign.
Metro police arrested 53-year-old Gary Walter Laatz after someone reported finding a computer with child porn on it in his possession.
And earlier this week, police arrested Pedro Pablo Mancilla Sanchez for having pornographic pictures on his computer of children ages 2 to 16.
The place your child spends a lot of his time is the same place sexual predators are waiting. It starts with a simple conversation on the computer, but can turn into something much more dangerous.
Now police are urging parents to help catch these types of predators before your child becomes their next victim.
Jennifer Glenn keeps a constant eye on her 16-year-old daughter not because she’s a troublemaker but because she’s a loyal MySpacer. And Jennifer knows behind the computer screen could lie trouble.
“If they ask you to meet them, if they ask you for personal information, if they ask you for anything — not to give anything out, no passwords — nothing,” said Jennifer.
But there has been a close call. Several years ago after logging onto her daughter’s account, she found a 30-year-old man trying to talk with her daughter.
“Told him if he ever contacted her again, I’d report him,” she said.
But some kids aren’t so lucky and are giving in to predators who are searching online for their next victim. Metro says more and more predators are figuring out this is where your child is hanging out.
“The children misinterpret a lengthy chat with an actual relationship. When you are communicating with someone on a computer, you’re not really communicating with that person. You don’t know who that person is,” said Sgt. Troy Barrett.
Barrett is with Internet Crimes Against Children and says parents need to report anything suspicious they see online — whether it’s child pornography or even dangerous conversations your child is having with strangers.
“We’d rather get more information than no information,” he said.
Tips can be reported to the cyber tip line through the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. Any tip from Nevada is reported back to local officials so they can start investigating.
Also, make sure the family computer is in clear sight, and you have access to everything your child is doing. It’s a step Jennifer Glenn is already taking.
“She can’t do anything until she gets her own job and pays for her own Internet and pays for her own place,” she said.
It’s tough love that may keep your child a click away from becoming a victim.
Metro says its a partnership with the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children and has been ramping up prosecution of these crimes lately because of tips from citizens.
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