Thirty alleged sexual predators in the state of Virginia have been arrested as part of an operation code named "COVID Crackdown." Fairfax County police revealed that 30 different men and women, aged between 20 and 74, racked in a total of 68 felony charges. Among the charges the predators were hit with are solicitation of a minor and attempted indecent liberties.
"Our detectives have remained vigilant and they recognized the increased threat posed by online predators in recent weeks," said Major Crimes Bureau Commander Major Ed O'Carroll. "I commend their ability to adapt during this unprecedented public health pandemic and to do so in the interest of protecting our children and bringing justice to those who commit these repugnant crimes."
Fairfax County police indicated that the closure of schools and social distancing have increased pedophile activity online, making children more vulnerable. Parents have been informed that closer monitoring of their children's online activity should be enforced.
The "COVID Crackdown" online sting helped police identify sexual predators who used internet platforms to solicit sex from police officers who went undercover as children. When these suspected predators met with the officers at the agreed-upon locations, they were taken into custody.
The suspects were primarily from the state of Virginia, although some live in Maryland and Washington, D.C.