Fri, Feb. 28

Sheriff's detectives arrest third child Internet predator

YAVAPAI COUNTY - The Yavapai Sheriff's Office Internet Predator Unit continues its work to lure into custody online child sex predators. A recent case involves a detective from the YCSO Criminal Investigations Section using the Internet to portray a 14-year-old girl. During the chat relationship over several weeks, a man eventually agreed to meet the girl for sex and sent her photos of his genitals. Saturday afternoon, 55-year-old Yuma resident David Gardner drove to a Yavapai County park to meet with the "14-year-old." Instead, YCSO deputies arrested Gardner. Deputies also confiscated a laptop computer from his car.

Gardner had reserved a hotel room where allegedly he intended to take the teen. Detectives located sex toys and alcohol in the room that Gardner had promised the girls. Detectives also served a search warrant at Gardner's home in Yuma and seized two desktop computers and several electronic storage media devices now under scrutiny. Yuma County Sheriff's Office and Yuma Police Department also assisted.

Gardner was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on 3 counts of luring a minor for sexual exploitation. He is being held on a $500,000 bond and due in court on Sept. 8. Additional charges are likely.

In April, the team of detectives completed an investigation involving inappropriate sexual conversations with minors, enticing minors for sex, and child pornography. A detective identified one a man from Knoxville, Tennessee and the predator was arrested.

During the same month, YCSO detectives concluded another child predator investigation in which a detective portrayed a 12-year-old girl. The investigation resulted in the arrest of a Tucson man who met undercover detectives at a location in Yavapai County.

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