Local cops are working to prevent child predators from taking the - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Local cops are working to prevent child predators from taking the next step

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Local police are on the prowl, looking for child predators that are using the Internet to find their next victim. With the aid of new technologies and new techniques, investigators are learning better ways to catch these creeps before they take the next step.

Investigators say that a seasoned child predator can learn a victim's personal information, including their sex, age, phone number, address, and interests in a matter of minutes online. They are constantly looking for new ways to gratify their sexual fantasies with the ultimate goal of meeting their victim in person.

Juliann Barker, 16, spends about two hours a day online. On one occasion, someone posing as a teen model agent asked her to send out some revealing photos.

"If you are interested in some teen modeling, reply back and I will send you the details. So I replied back because it seemed kind of cool. She replied back and said that she was going to need three photos. One looking halfway down your shirt, one naked, and a regular photo," says Juliann Barker.

Unfortunately, predators seek out children of just about every age group.

"You got the thirty-five year old man telling a twelve year old that he's twelve years old," says Investigator Mike Brown with the Bluefield, Va. Police Department.

 "I have observed images as young as two or three years old, very disturbing," says Tazewell, Va. Police Chief Greg Layne.

Cell phones, I-Pods, smart phones, and any other gadget with an IP address can be used as a tool for the exploitation of children.

"I don't know how he figured all this information out, whether she told him or he just found out on his own. He knew a lot about her. It was pretty freaky," says Tanna Miller, age 15.

So far this year, Investigator Mike Brown with the Bluefield, Virginia Police Department has arrested six people for downloading child porn.

"These guys do their research, they know what to say, they know the current trends and they are basically going to talk the child into doing something that the child doesn't want to do," says Brown.

Police say there are chat rooms specify designed for child pornographers. Women can be just as guilty as men and the predators may not be acting alone.

"I have seen husband and wife teams. It was actually like a family event," says Layne.

"An ex-governors aid in West Virginia was actually arrested for enticement, so you cant really label or stereotype a predator," says Brown.

But you can prevent them from making your child their next victim by monitoring what your kids are doing online.

"If you don't know what they are posting online, what they are saying online, what they are doing online, the next thing you know you have a predator knocking on your front door," says Brown.

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