Police Nab Online Predator - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cape Girardeau, MO

Police Nab Online Predator

Police Nab Online Predator
By: CJ Cassidy

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO --Cape Girardeau Police nab a man they call a would-be predator online. It happened after an investigator posed as a 15-year-old girl on the popular chat site, MySpace.com.

It's only the second time it's happened in Cape Girardeau County, and the first in this area using the MySpace website. But police say the investigation proves just how dangerous meeting strangers online can be.

"I didn't approach them. They approached the account I create," Detective Bradley Smith with the Cape Girardeau Police Department explains.

Smith attracted the attention of many internet users when he logged on as a 15-year old girl, but says none of them crossed the line, the way 45-year old Robert Wells did.

"Once the meeting time and location was established we kept an eye on him," Smith says.

Investigators had reason to be concerned.

When Smith told Wells he was talking to a 15-year old, the man police call a predator allegedly admitted it was illegal, then added he was "looking for something very physical." Soon afterwards, police nabbed the Cape Girardeau man outside a local restaurant where he had arranged to meet the teen face to face.

"There's a lot of nasty men and women in there it's really gross and it's wrong," Nickkey Lowe, who frequents MySpace.com says.

All the same, the arrest shocked the 15-year old high school student. Now she says she might change information she's posted about herself online.

"I'll take my picture off for one. It's really scary now this has happened, and then my age and all that stuff," she says.

Brad Smith says that's a good idea.

He points out tracking someone down would be a mouse click away for a seasoned predator.

"With the use of the internet you can find anybody, so if parents could monitor profiles and pictures that would also help out," the detective says.

In an interview with the Associated Press, MySpace.com creators recently said the website is about as safe as anyplace offline. They say you just have to take precautions when talking to strangers.

Meanwhile Robert Wells is being held in the Cape County Jail on $ 25,000 cash bond.

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