FORDYCE, Ark. — The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has made 40 arrests for Internet Stalking of a Child.
But in this new year, the department is exposing a new set of crimes that also begin online.
The hot food served up at Red’s Cafe in Fordyce is almost as hot as the topics of conversation.
“Oh yeah, I’ve been seeing it all over social media, Facebook,” Amanda Rhodes, a waitress at Red’s said.
She’s seen the arrests, the charges, the work put in by DCSO.
“Like a little bitty old town doing some justice,” Rhodes said.
“Got 301 notifications,” Deputy Cain said, looking at his phone.
The work starts on Deputy Jacob Cain’s cell phone.
“Sixteen chat requests, and I just cleared them out this morning,” he said.
Requests from potential predators, who believe they’re talking to a teen girl.
“There were times where I would get home at 10 o’clock at night after [arresting] one guy. At 11:30, I’m out going to pick up another guy,” Deputy Cain said.
Two more arrests were made over the weekend.
Now the sheriff’s office is using social media to not just catch potential child predators, but those looking to pay for sex.
“Guy says, ‘can you download Skype? It will literally only take you 20-30 minutes and you will have 200 dollars,'” Cain reads off his phone from a chat conversation.
It’s messages like these that led to six arrests in a week for sexual solicitation.
“Every night when we get home to log off, there’s be another one. How do we slow down, how do we stop, when there’s multiple guys out there that are wanting to meet?”
Opening the eyes of teens like Trustin Hobbs to what can really happen online.
“I’ve always known to be safe but I never knew it was incredibly dangerous,” Hobbs said.
She’s glad to know she’s being protected.
“I’m so excited that we’re fighting back. Someone’s got to do it,” she said.
Both Pulaski County and Independence County are following DCSO lead in fighting online crimes.
They are now working to involve state police and the Arkansas Attorney General’s office to expand their reach and resources.