Mooresville police arrest 15 in child predator sting | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

More than a dozen people were arrested after the minors they are charged with soliciting online turned out to be the Mooresville Police Department and other law enforcement.

Chief Ron Campurciani said with 15 arrests, Operation Artemis was the largest child predator operation in Mooresville Police Department history with assistance from municipal, county, state and federal authorities.

Chief Ron Campurciani, surrounded by other law enforcement officers, speaks about Operation Artemis.

“These predators you see over here are every parent’s nightmare,” Campurciani said while pointing to photos at the Mooresville Police Department where the news conference took place. “These are the reasons parents, when they go out, hold their child’s hands a little tighter. That’s why their heart stops when you go out with their child when you can’t see them for a few minutes and you don’t know where they are and you start to panic.

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“It’s because of people like these that are still out there.”

He said nine of the 15 suspects wanted the child they thought they were talking with to get in the car with them.

Campurciani said planning for the operation began six months ago. A number of social platforms were used in the operation, but the chief said that it didn’t like take long for conversations between the adults and the supposed 13- to 15-year-olds to become sexual.


Statesville Record & Landmark A photo of those targeted in Operation Artemis.

The months of planning were needed, Campurciani said, because of the need to coordinate everything from their own “chatters” to interact with the suspects to the take-down teams to arrest them, as well as keeping other law enforcement agencies on the same page. He said no one was injured during the operation.

The police chief said none of the 14 arrested or a man they still are searching for have previous arrests.

Operation Artemis ran May 28-30 and involved 19 agencies and 65 personnel from those agencies.

Suspects range in age from 25 to 78 with some from as far away as Gretna, Virginia, and as nearby as Mooresville. Suspects utilized online platforms including ChatApp, Discord, DoubleList, Facebook, FetLife, Grindr, Mega Personal Ad, Skip the Games, and Sniffies to solicit minors, the chief said.

A 25-year-old Valparaiso man, who claimed to a military veteran, faces two felony counts of child solicitation after being nabbed on video by a local vigilante group allegedly trying to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex, records show.

Follow Ben Gibson on Facebook at @BenGibsonSRL

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