The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office caught three Gainesville men this weekend in an online sexual predator sting.
Lance Thomas Kriete, 20, of 13 Fraternity Row, Benjamin Wade Parker, 23, of 4117 SW 20th Ave., and Richard Lee Ashcraft, 40, of 1021 NW 23rd Ave., were taken into custody after chatting online and then agreeing to meet with an underage girl for sex.
The sting, called “Operation Nightlight,” took place from Thursday to Sunday morning.
“Once they arrive at these locations,” said Lt. Todd Kelly, spokesperson for Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, “they find out very quickly that what they thought was an underage child is actually an undercover law enforcement officer.”
The undercover officers used unspecified chat forums to talk to the men, according to the sheriff’s office.
Kriete is the Risk Manager for the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at UF. He believed he was chatting with the father of a 14-year-old girl and expressed his interest in engaging in sexual acts with the girl.
He is charged with two third-degree felonies and one second-degree felony.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Parker was targeted in a prior sting called “Tailspin,” but because he never met with whom he was chatting, he was not arrested.
Parker is facing five charges: two second-degree felonies and three third-degree felonies. His bond is set at $250,000.
Ashcraft is a mechanic at Bestway Cab, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He is facing charges of one second-degree felony and two third-degree felonies. His bond is set at $75,000.
Michelle Plitnikas wrote this story online.