Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando sheriff's operation targets people wanted on crimes against children

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday announced the results of an ongoing operation to identify and arrest wanted people — especially those with a history of child abuse and sex-related offenses.

The effort is called "Operation Safe Children."

Since its inception in January, the operation has netted 71 people on charges ranging from violation of probation to child abuse, sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation. The arrests include 30 sex offenders and predators.

Several law enforcement agencies have participated in the effort.

"These people who have committed these crimes . . . we're going to find them and we're going to bring them to justice and put them in jail," said Hernando sheriff's Capt. J.R. Hutchinson, who has led the operation.

One such target was Billie Earl Futrell, a sexual predator wanted on a violation of probation. He was found and arrested, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The idea for the operation began in September, when Hutchinson, who works with the Sheriff's Office's judicial services division, noticed that a sex offender with a warrant out for his arrest was out to sea as a merchant marine. That didn't sit well with Hutchinson. The Sheriff's Office worked to make sure his name was on a watch list, and he was picked up when he arrived in port.

From there, Hutchinson asked the warrants unit to research additional sex offender absconders and others with warrants so they could be targeted and would not be free to victimize other children.

In particular, the Sheriff's Office has been looking for people with active warrants or probable cause involving sexual battery, child abuse/neglect, lewd and lascivious behavior, exposure of sexual organs and sexual offenders with any type of warrant.

The goal is pretty straightforward: identify, locate and arrest wanted people in order to reduce or eliminate crimes committed by people who are trying to avoid arrest.

To find these people, the Sheriff's Office asked its information technology department to develop a way to pull specific crimes from the office's database. It then asked a deputy to search old warrants for people meeting the criteria.

The operation will run for a year.

The Sheriff's Office has roughly 2,000 outstanding warrants, which it contends is in line with what is seen at other law enforcement agencies. Since 2010, Sheriff Al Nienhuis said, the Sheriff's Office has reduced the number of warrants by about 1,000.

Contact Danny Valentine at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. Follow @HernandoTimes.

.Fast facts

Help find absconders

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office wants the public's help as it seeks nine absconders as part of Operation Safe Children. The individuals are wanted on a variety of charges, including probation violation and sex-related crimes:

David Lee Bessette, 39

Manuel Cruz, 43

Joseph Vincent Michaels, 56

Juan Martin Perez, 39

John Jairo Fernandez Patino, 52

A. Hussam Armashi, 67

Alton Glen "Rusty" Findley, 53

Amanda Charlie Griffin, 32

Harry Delaine IV, 21

Hernando sheriff's operation targets people wanted on crimes against children 08/06/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 8:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Treasure Island facing massive municipal makeover

    Local Government

    TREASURE ISLAND — The first hint of the extent and potential cost of replacing city facilities became public Tuesday.

  2. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour

    Minors

    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

  3. Democrat Philip Levine won't attack Trump. Can he be Florida governor?

    Perspective

    If he decides to run, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will be the most enigmatic and unpredictable candidate for Florida governor in 2018.

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is introduced before speaking at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting at the Ferguson Law Center in Tampa on May 19. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  4. What you need to know for Friday, Aug. 18

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read 'Hellfire from Above,' inside the Tampa Electric Co. power plant accident that left five people dead. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  5. Tampa is training ground for Team USA inline skating

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The United States once dominated the sport known as international outdoor inline speed skating.

    Cotton Yarborough is one of five people from the Tampa Bay area on the national inline speed skating team. The team is competing in the world championships Aug. 27 in China. [Courtesy of Frank Holland]