Hey Washington County, Predators Are After Your Kids
Yes, bad guys are after your kids. Yes, they will lie, assuage and exaggerate their way into your kids' lives. And no, in the end, they don't care at all about the wreckage they leave behind.
Sergeant Zack Bahlmann and Detective Wyatt Lubbers, as guests on the Andy Griffin Show Tuesday, said there's a disturbing trend in Washington County.
Adults -- bad adults -- extorting families due to "intimate images" they've managed to extract from children.
"As difficult as it might be to have these conversations with our kids, the fact of the matter is that it's happening," Bahlmann said. "Whether you have the conversation or not, it's happening. You've got to think about it this way: Do you want to be uncomfortable for a few minutes or do you want to be a non-trusted adult?"
Sadly, through social media or even online games our kids play, predatory adults are getting kids to take pictures of themselves and send them out electronically.
Lubbers said the predators then threaten the kids.
"They'll say things like 'Send me $1,000 or I'm going to send these pictures to your friends, family or loved ones,'" he said. "Call the police. Don't ever give them money because they're either going to send out the pictures anyway or they're going to keep asking for more and more money."
The St. George Police Department detectives said the first step should always be to call them. There will be embarrassment. There will be awkward moments. But eventually there will be resolution. And hopefully one less bad guy on the streets.
Bahlmann and Lubbers said there are some fantastic resources online to help the situation, even if you don't go to the police.
"It's called 'sextortion' and it's happening right here in St. George," Bahlmann said.
You're also encouraged to call the SGPD non-emergency line if you are aware of any unusual or unexplained behavior by your child -- 435-627-4300.
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