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PCSO News Release

Media Contact:
Wood, Donna

Public Information Officer 
News Date: 6/17/2013 

 Polk County Sheriff’s Office Conducts Largest Internet Crimes Against Children Undercover Operation in Polk County History – 41 Suspects Arrested 


An electrician; a student; an insurance salesman; a bank teller; a handyman; an AV technician; a file clerk; a painter; mechanics; theme park employees; a law enforcement academy graduate; an IT phone technician; laborers; a youth football coach; a photo lab technician, a heavy machine operator; a tax preparer; a hospital accountant; a wall-paper installer and a senior partner in a CPA firm - all wanted to have sex with a child – all were arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail.  

In an undisclosed location in Polk County, beginning on Saturday, June 8, through Saturday, June 15, 2013, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives, along with detectives and investigators from 11 other local, state and federal agencies, conducted a week long undercover investigation targeting online child predators and arrested 41 suspects.  

“Despite the fact our detectives have conducted nine of these operations since 2006; despite the extensive media coverage when we talk about the numerous arrests; despite the fact we make no secret about putting suspects in jail – there are those who continue to travel to Polk County to have sex with a child.  Make no mistake; we will continue to make protecting our children our number one priority.  We will continue to conduct these investigations, and we will continue to arrest those who would travel to Polk County to harm children.” – Sheriff Grady Judd. 

The 40 males and one female responded to ads and chatted on several social media sites, which included backpage and craigslist, with detectives and investigators from: 

1.    Polk County Sheriff’s Office

2.    Manatee County Sheriff’s Office

3.    Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Tampa Region

4.    St. Petersburg Police Department

5.    U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations

6.    Bradenton Police Department

7.    Lake County Sheriff’s Office

8.    Orange County Sheriff’s Office

9.    Sumter County Sheriff’s Office

10.  Longwood Police Department

11.  Department of Homeland Security

12.  Osceola County Sheriff’s Office

In the largest undercover operation of its kind, the 40 males and one female suspects face a total of 180 charges which range from: Attempted Lewd Battery, Lewd and Lascivious Battery, Unlawful use of a Two-Way Communication Device, Seduce/Solicit/Entice to commit in Sexual Act, Traveling to Meet Minor, Drug Possession, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Traveling to Meet/Use Computer to Solicit Guardian, Transmission of Harmful Material to Minor, to Procuring Minor for Prostitution, and Resisting Arrest without Violence.  

The suspects will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office of the Tenth Judicial Circuit. 

“By partnering with other agencies we can extend our resources.  Detectives, investigators and officers have worked around the clock to ensure these suspects are taken off the streets.  Without our undercover detectives, and the dedicated men and women from partnering agencies, child predators would have the opportunity to sexually attack your child.  We will continue our investigation, working closely with the State Attorney’s Office, to ensure those who would prey on our children are held accountable for their crimes.” – Sheriff Grady Judd.    

The suspects traveled from all across central Florida -13 suspects were from Polk County.  Polk County suspects traveled from Bartow, Winter Haven, Wahneta, Davenport, Haines City, Lakeland, and Lake Wales.  Other central Florida locations suspects traveled from were: 

8 traveled from Orange County (Apopka, Winter Garden, and Orlando)

6 traveled from Osceola County (Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Celebration)

3 traveled from Seminole (Lake Mary, Winter Springs, Longwood)

2 traveled from Lake County (Clermont)

2 traveled from Hardee County (Wauchula and Bowling Green)

2 traveled from Volusia County (Ormond Beach – one of which was an 18-year-old girl)

1 traveled from Pinellas County (Dunedin)

1 traveled from Hillsborough County (Brandon)

1 from Conyers Georgia (in Tampa on business)

1 from Madison Wisconsin (in Orlando on business)

1 from Carson Alabama (in Mulberry on business) 

16 suspects brought condoms

11 admitted they were married

18 was the youngest

65 was the oldest 

Including the charges they face in this investigation, suspects have a combined arrest history of 99 felonies and 65 misdemeanors. 

Notable cases were: 

On Saturday, June 8, 2013, the first day of the investigation, PCSO detectives arrested 54-year-old David C, Ullman, DOB 10/07/1958, 1316 S. Highland Park Drive, Lake Wales, charging him with Attempted Lewd Battery, (F3), Unlawful use of Two-Way Communication Device, (F3); Seduce Solicit Entice to commit in Sexual Act, (F2), and Traveling to Meet Minor, (F2).  Ullman contacted an undercover detective who was posing as 14-year-old female, saying he was a 49-year-old male who wanted to teach her about sensual massage, ultimately soliciting the detective for oral sex.  Ullman brought condoms.  Ullman is a senior tax partner with Bunting, Tripp and Ingley in Lake Wales, is a certified public accountant and attorney.  The company’s website listed his accomplishments and credentials to include being the Director/Treasurer for the Polk Education Foundation and Chairman/Trustee for the Lake Wales Charter Schools Board of Trustees and Elder, Deacon at Lake Wales First Presbyterian Church.   

46-year-old James Walker, 109 Shady Oak Loop, Davenport, a costumer’s assistant at Disney World, traveled to the undercover location to have sexual intercourse with who he believed to be a 15 year old male.  During the conversation, Walker said he had to be careful what he said because he knew his activity was illegal.  Upon his arrest, Walker admitted to traveling to the undercover location the first night of the operation, but upon arriving at the undisclosed location, he observed numerous Sheriff Office vehicles blocking an entrance.  Coincidentally, PCSO deputies were conducting a separate investigation and had established a perimeter in the area blocking Walker’s path.  After seeing the deputies and patrol cars he became frightened and returned home.  But because he was “intrigued” by the conversation with the undercover detective, he returned the second night.  Walker was charged with Attempted Lewd Battery, Seduce/Solicit/Entice to commit in Sexual Act, and Traveling to Meet Minor (2 counts). 

24-year-old Jose Aguilar, 4629 Alderman Road, Bowling Green, arrived at the undercover location to have sexual intercourse with who he believed to be a 14-year-old female.  While chatting online, Aguilar told the undercover detective he received sexual gratification while watching child pornography and that he has “always fantasized about being with someone” 14 years old.  Aguilar graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy at Miami Dade College in August 2012, but was not able to complete the basic recruit training program at Bowling Green Police Department.  Aguilar stated he views child pornography for sexual gratification.  He is married and has two small children under the age of five.  His wife is currently pregnant.  Detectives located a gun under the passenger seat of Aguilar’s vehicle.  

49-year-old Ignacio Alvarado 2316 S Conway Road, Apt L, Orlando, told detectives he was an electrician with the TSA.  The Department of Homeland Security advised Alvarado is not an employee but rather works for a company under contract to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, who at the time of his arrest, had full access to the airport.  Alvarado drove to the undercover location to have sex with a 14-year-old female after an online conversation in which he encouraged the UC, whom he thought was a young girl, to masturbate and describe the act in detail to him.

33-year-old Eraldo Zunun made arrangements to meet who he believed to be a 14 year old female and have sexual intercourse with her.  Zunun did not have a vehicle and arranged for a friend to drop him off approximately 1.5 miles from the location.  (Zunun’s friend was not aware of Zunun plans.)  Zunun then walked the 1.5 miles to the undercover location where he was met by detectives.  In October 2004, Zunun was arrested in Orange County for Armed Sexual Battery.  The charge was reduced to Aggravated Battery and later Nolle Prossed, however, Zunun was deported 

29-year-old Shane Alan Christopher, 5428 Coyote Trail, Orlando, told detectives he was a full-time student at Valencia College.  Christopher responded to an add offering young girls.  Christopher arranged to pay $125 to have sex with who he believed was a 14-year-old girl.  Upon his arrest, detectives recovered $131, a condom and a switchblade knife.  Christopher told detectives he knew what he did was “stupid.”  Christopher was charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor, Procure a Minor for Prostitution, Unlawful Use of Two-Way Communication Device, Attempted Lewd Battery, and Use of Computer to Solicit Parent. 

39-year-old Chris Thunker, 2430 East Mifflin Street, Madison, Wisconsin, an audio visual technician, who was attending a conference in Orlando, made arrangements with an undercover detective posing as a mother of a 13-year-old female.  The conversation between the detective and Thunker described how the mom was looking for someone to be with her daughter.  Thunker agreed to travel from Orlando to meet - he arrived in a Taxi.  After and being taken into custody Thunker admitted what he did was wrong. Thunker also asked detectives if would still be able to make his flight back (home).  Thunker was charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor (child), Traveling to Meet a Minor (Parent), Seduce/Solicit/Entice to Commit in Sexual Act, Unlawful Use of Two-Way Communication Device, Attempted Lewd Battery.  He missed his flight.   

65-year-old Floyd Weir, 186 Skylock Drive West, Dunedin, the oldest of the suspects, chatted with detectives for several days ultimately telling one detective he hoped they could “become wonderful friends and see what develops with one another in time and maybe able to share things about each other and have wonderful time learning from one another.”  Weir’s conversation with the undercover detective included asking the child to masturbate while they chatted.  He said he liked going to parks, boating, fishing and taking photos.  When Weir arrived at the undercover location, detectives located sex toys, lubricant, and pillows inside his vehicle (a van.)   

35-year-old Tommy Helms, 1219 Avenue E, Ormond Beach with his 18-year-old girlfriend, Erin Vickers arrived together.  Helms had arranged for Bickers to “teach” a 14-year-old girl how to have sex and ultimately to include himself in the sexual activity.  Helms and Bickers arrived on a motorcycle with a large backpack containing several pornographic movies, vibrators, sex toys, condoms, oils, four sets of handcuffs, and a dog collar.  Helms was charged with Travel to Meet a Minor, Use of computer to Solicit Sex from Minor, Attempted Lewd Battery, Transmission of Harmful Material to Minor, Use of two-way communication Device, and Bickers was charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor, Unlawful Use of Two-Way Communication Device, Attempted Lewd Battery.

A complete list of the suspects can be viewed at:  

http://www.polksheriff.org/NewsRoom/News%20Releases/Other%20Files/suspect%20sheet.pdf