A tip from a St. Maries resident led to the arrest of a sexual predator with a national warrant.
In September, The Benewah County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a citizen who said their teenage son had received multiple inappropriate text messages from a Washington-based phone number.
The texts were sent by a man who identified himself only as Mark. According to the dispatch report, the man was intent on sending an explicit video to the teenager before claiming to have the wrong number.
“Ultimately, the sheriff’s office investigation found that it (the number) belonged to a sexual predator with a nationwide felony warrant for his arrest for the sexual exploitation of children,” Detective Mike Richardson said.
The BCSO then reached out to the community and received an additional 25 complaints regarding the same suspect.
Through collaboration with national agencies, the suspect was located and arrested on the East Coast.
The BCSO declined to name the individual arrested or the exact location of the arrest citing the ongoing nature of the case.
“It tracked back to a person out of Washington and then other information led to other places. I can’t go into details but the information led to another agency being able to apprehend him,” Detective Richardson said.
Detective Richardson also said that information from the investigation also led to connections being established between the suspect and other cases throughout the United States.
The BCSO hopes the positive outcome of the case will lead to more people to coming forward with information they might have previously disregarded.
“Even if it seems like a random spam text, please report it to our office. This one report may have saved countless children from being victimized, abused or worse,” Detective Richardson said. “If this went unreported, more than likely this guy would still be running around.”