SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Cruz Police Department arrested a man on Tuesday for arranging to meet a minor for sex. Valentin Rodriguez, 62, was caught in a sting operation that involved a man impersonating a 14-year-old girl online to catch sexual predators, SCPD said.
Rodriguez sent multiple inappropriate messages and photographs to the man impersonating the teenage girl, per SCPD. He also arranged to meet her in Santa Cruz to have sex.
Police said in a press release that they found out about Rodriguez after responding to people live-streaming a confrontation between two men at Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf. After interviewing the man impersonating the girl, who police referred to as an “independent investigator,” Rodriguez was arrested.
To confirm the connection between Rodriguez and independent investigator, officers asked the man to send Rodriguez a text, SCPD said. His phone immediately chimed.
SCPD searched Rodriguez’s home and vehicle. The investigation is ongoing and it is unknown whether he solicited any actual underage victims, SCPD said.
Rodriguez was booked into jail on a felony charge of meeting a minor with the intent to engage in sexual conduct, per SCPD.