19 Alleged Child Predators Arrested In New Jersey Sting Operation

WCBS 880 Newsroom
October 31, 2019 - 3:20 pm
Operation Open Door suspects

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SOMERVILLE, N.J. (WCBS 880) — A sting operation in New Jersey has netted 19 alleged child predators on charges of trying to lure minors for sex.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson on Thursday disclosed details about the multi-agency sting called Operation Open Door.


 
Officials say the suspects used social media and chat apps to arrange to have sex with whom they believed were boys and girls between 12 and 14 years old.

"They were chatting with highly-trained undercover officers and when they showed up to meet their intended victims, we were there to arrest them," Grewal said.

Officials behind the operation say of the men arrested, ranging in age from 23 to 55 were mostly from New Jersey, with the exeception of three — one from Pennslyvania and two from Indiana. One of the suspects was a volunteer firefighter, and another a theme park employee.

"When a child is preyed upon, it is some of the most heinous crimes that we see in law enforcement. This involved multiple agencies working together with no light between the shields and that is the way we will continue in the state of New Jersey," Robertson said.
  
The suspects are held in the Somerset County Jail. They face up to 10 years in state prison if convicted.

Officials urged parents to closely monitor their children's online activities.

"Child predators once used to stalk young people on playgrounds and in shopping malls, now they lurk on social media using chat apps and gaming platforms," Grewal said.

"Parents need to engage with their children actively, the internet is a dangerous place. There are bad people and predators out there," said Newark Special Agent in Charge with the FBI Greg Ehrie.

All of the defendants are pending detention hearings Thursday and Friday.

This was the third operation to take place in just over a year in New Jersey,  where a total of 59 alleged predators have now been arrested.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.