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Pinellas childcare worker nabbed in Polk prostitution sting, deputies say

Pinellas County childcare worker Antonio Wilson Jr., 25, faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and offering to commit prostitution, according to the Polk County sheriff’s Office.
Pinellas County childcare worker Antonio Wilson Jr., 25, faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and offering to commit prostitution, according to the Polk County sheriff’s Office.
Published May 22, 2019

A 25-year-old Pinellas County childcare worker was arrested in a prostitution sting conducted this month by the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Antonio Wilson Jr. faces a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and offering to commit prostitution.

Wilson works as a childcare worker at North Shore Elementary School, 200 35th Ave NE in St. Petersburg, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. A spokesperson for the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg confirmed Wilson had been an employee in the organization's before- and after-school care program at North Shore Elementary. Wilson was terminated after the YMCA learned learned of the arrest.

The six-day undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of Wilson and 153 other people was called "Operation No Spring Fling." Polk detectives posed online as customers and escorts, posting ads offering services and responding to ads for services.

A detective contacted someone who was later identified as Antonio Wilson Jr. on May 16. They exchanged text messages, according to an arrest report, in which Wilson agreed to bring another defendant, Michael Mitchell and a juvenile, to Polk County to engage in sex acts in exchange for $100 each, plus $20 for gas.

They arrived at an undisclosed location just after midnight on May 17, where deputies were waiting. Wilson admitted to posting the advertisement, agreeing to the undercover detective's request and knowing the juvenile was "possibly underage," the arrest report said. Deputies found Wilson was also in possession of a pair of brass knuckles.

The juvenile, whose name was not released by deputies, is a "likely victim of human trafficking" according to the Sheriff's Office and was offered services from the One More Child, a Christian charity. Deputies took the juvenile to the George Harris Youth Shelter. The Florida Department of Children and Families was also alerted to this case.

Contact Kavitha Surana at ksurana@tampabay.com. Follow her at @ksurana6.

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