Saturday, June 23, 2018
Public safety

New Port Richey man accused of stalking teen he was trying to have sex with, deputies say

Authorities have arrested a New Port Richey man they say tried to blackmail a young teen girl into a sexual relationship.

David K. Wagner, 25, of 4517 Croton Drive faces charges of aggravated stalking of a child, among others.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, Wagner met a 15-year-old girl in August through a social networking site. He eventually persuaded the teen to send him a nude picture of herself from the waist up.

But once he had the photo, he told her he would share it with her family and friends unless she agreed to have sex, officials said.

The girl told her mother, who contacted deputies March 28.

Authorities, posing as the girl, started chatting with Wagner, who arranged a meeting for Thursday morning in southern Pinellas County.

Detectives were waiting.

Wagner was in the Pinellas County Jail on Thursday. Bail had not been set. Authorities believe there may be more victims.

Deputies said Wagner used to volunteer at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. He was part of a dive team that cleaned pools until last August. Officials there said he did not have contact with children. A spokesperson said the aquarium has always done background checks on volunteers, but instituted a more rigorous check early last year. It was not clear whether Wagner went through that check.

Records show the Pasco County Sheriff's Office arrested Wagner in 2008 on a lewd and lascivious charge. It was reduced to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Wagner pleaded no contest and judgment was withheld; he received a year of probation.

The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information to call (727) 582-6200.

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