Monday, December 11, 2017
Public safety

Man suspected of texting naked pictures arrested in St. Petersburg mother's sting

ST. PETERSBURG — The woman could tell her daughter was hiding something.

It was the middle of the night, and the 11-year-old was still awake. She was hiding her cellphone under the covers.

The 47-year-old told her middle schooler to hand over the device— which she discovered was filled with Facebook messages from an adult man.

The mother, who is not being named to protect her daughter's identity, had forbade her daughter from creating any social media accounts. The next day she called the man — who authorities identified as 23-year-old Michael Bradley of St. Petersburg — and threatened to report him to police.

Bradley claimed a younger brother had contacted the girl, the mother said.

But after the conversation, the texts from the man with the full beard kept coming.

So the mother played along, pretending to be the girl, who just completed sixth grade.

Bradley texted that he wanted to meet the girl at Walmart. He wanted to know if the girl was a virgin. He told her he loved her. He said he wanted to give her a baby.

The mother, appalled, called police May 28. But detectives felt like the messages didn't reach a level that would allow for prosecution, officials said.

Just days later, the mother said she got the evidence she — and police —needed.

On June 2, police said, Bradley wrote that he wanted a picture.

"You first," the mother texted back.

Bradley sent six pictures of his penis, police said.

The mother replied with a photo she snapped of a child posing in a Target newspaper ad. Then she turned everything over to police.

Police spokesman Mike Puetz said Bradley admitted to detectives that he sent the messages and pictures. "He claimed that all he was attempting to do was scare the girl off," Puetz said.

He was arrested Friday on multiple counts of obscenity and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. He was still in the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of $65,000 bail.

Police commended the girls mother for monitoring her daughter's activities so closely, but stopped short of completely endorsing her actions. Puetz said in this situation everything worked out, but that police don't want everyone thinking they should go out and try their own undercover operations.

The girl's mother said the experience has left her shaken. She said she discussed it with her daughter and told her she can't have a phone "until she's old enough to get a job and pay for it herself."

She said she hopes other parents will learn from this.

"I'm just glad I caught it in time," the mother said. "All the things he sent me. I know her brain wouldn't have even been able to handle that."

Comments

Mother, sons lose everything in fire -- except her daughter’s urn

By DIVYA KUMARTimes staff writerST. PETERSBURG — The day after a fire claimed most of Jahmeshia Jackson’s possessions, the 27-year-old mother returned to the house she and her sons had escaped, trying to salvage what she could. She hoped her washer a...
Updated: 18 minutes ago

Pets rescued from fire at Tampa apartment complex (with video)

TAMPA — Firefighters rescued a cat and a dog from a blaze Monday that severely damaged an eight-unit apartment building in the Lowry Park area of Tampa.The fire started about 3:30 p.m. inside a two-story building at the Brookshire Townhomes, at 1910 ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tree trimmer shocked by power line in Clearwater, authorities say

Tree trimmer shocked by power line in Clearwater, authorities say

CLEARWATER — A 38-year-old tree trimmer is in critical condition after he was shocked by a power line Monday, according to Clearwater Fire & Rescue.Ernest Harlen, of Largo, was on a ladder cutting trees with a pole saw when he was shocked just before...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Father of Seminole Heights victim repairing damage after vandals hit son’s memorial

Father of Seminole Heights victim repairing damage after vandals hit son’s memorial

TAMPA — Weeks after burying his son Anthony Naiboa, one of four people gunned down over the span of 51 days in Seminole Heights, Casimar Naiboa has a new and unwanted ritual.He drives past a makeshift memorial his family made for his son, set up wher...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bomb strapped to man explodes in New York subway; 3 hurt

Bomb strapped to man explodes in New York subway; 3 hurt

NEW YORK — A man inspired by the Islamic State group set off a crude pipe bomb strapped to his body Monday in a crowded subway corridor near Times Square, injuring the man, slightly wounding three others and sending New York commuters fleeing in terr...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lakewood High on lockout after report of weapon on campus

Lakewood High on lockout after report of weapon on campus

Lakewood High in St. Petersburg was placed on lockdown Monday morning following reports of a weapon on campus, but the threat was later downgraded and the school was placed in lockout status instead. St. Petersburg Police spokeswoman Sandra Bentil s...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Firefighters brace for second week of California wildfires

Firefighters brace for second week of California wildfires

LOS ANGELES — As Southern California enters its second week engulfed in flames, fire officials anticipate more growth and danger due to continued strong wind gusts, no rain and decades-old dry vegetation. A powerful flare-up on the western edge of th...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Reasons elusive as Pinellas EMS demand skyrockets

Reasons elusive as Pinellas EMS demand skyrockets

When the fire chief asked if anyone in the room had fallen before, a few in the gray- and white-haired crowd raised their hands. One woman lost her footing as she was answering the phone. Another saw a palmetto bug, sprayed it with repellent, then s...
Published: 12/11/17
‘What I am detained for?’ Comedian Hannibal Buress arrested in Miami

‘What I am detained for?’ Comedian Hannibal Buress arrested in Miami

Popular comedian Hannibal Buress was arrested Saturday night in Wynwood on a disorderly intoxication charge after an encounter with a police officer.Buress, 34, was booked into a Miami-Dade jail at 1:57 a.m. Sunday and posted bail just before 6 a.m.,...
Published: 12/10/17
Florida Uber driver charged with sexual assault of passenger

Florida Uber driver charged with sexual assault of passenger

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida Uber driver is facing charges that he sexually assaulted a drunken passenger.The Orlando Sentinel reports that 38-year-old Jorge Alberto Antunez Quintero was charged this week with sexual battery after an investigation ...
Published: 12/09/17