(RNN) – A man in Florida caught in a child predator sting told authorities “he only came to the meeting place because he believed it was an undercover sting and he thought it would be cool to see it in action.”
The sting, called “Operation Unlawful Attraction,” was conducted by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and announced on Monday.
The sheriff’s office said they arrested seven men, who “traveled to parking lots across Volusia County to meet children for sex.”
Among the seven was James Bowen, 34, a barber shop owner, who tried to convince deputies he knew what was happening all along and just wanted to see a sting in person. His claim didn’t convince authorities, who had chat and text records of his with an undercover detective he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
Bowen was charged on four counts, including using a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child and traveling to seduce/solicit/lure a child.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said it also arrested two men who told undercover detectives in chats about previous sex crimes committed against minors.
The sheriff’s office also released a video showing some of the arrests, pulling the men out of their cars and off sidewalks where they believed they would be meeting children.