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Results From the Florida Sheriffs Task Force Operation Cyber Vigilance

August 05, 2014

More than 130 suspects, ranging in age from 20s through 70s, included a postal worker, pizza deliveryman, landscaper, former law enforcement officer and a Disney employee 

Tallahassee, Fla. (August 5, 2014) – Florida Sheriff's Task Force Chairman Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and FSA Immediate Past President Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced today the results of “Operation Cyber Vigilance,” the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force Spring/Summer operation which sought out individuals who chat with “minors” on line for the purpose of meeting them and engaging them in sexual activity. The joint initiative netted 132 arrests and 282 arrest charges.

Nine County Sheriff’s Offices hosted and 8 contributed personnel and resourcesto the operations under the umbrella of “Operation Cyber Vigilance,” which took place between March 19, 2014 and July 20, 2014.

HOST AGENCIES (in alpha order)
Citrus County Sheriff’s Office
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office
Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office
Lee County Sheriff’s Office
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Polk County Sheriff’s Office
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Alachua County Sheriff’s Office
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office
Clay County Sheriff’s Office
Lake County Sheriff’s Office
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office
Orange County Sheriff’s Office
Osceola County Sheriff’s Office
St. John County Sheriff’s Office



The Florida Sheriffs Task Force decided in 2013 to emphasize and highlight these inter-agency investigations in 2014 to help protect Florida’s children from on line predators and exploitation, and to bring public awareness to Internet and social network safety for children.  

Over the four month period the agencies arrested suspects on a variety of charges, the most common ones being Traveling to Meet a Minor and Using an On-Line Service to Lure/Entice a Minor. Other charges included narcotics related offenses, active fugitive warrants and resisting arrest.

Notable Arrests:
Bela Sziklassy
DOB: 07/18/1943
Address: Pinellas County
Arrested for Traveling To Meet a “12-year-old”; and Possession of Child Pornography. Investigators say he told investigators his sexual interest was juveniles “diapers to 11 years old.”

Christopher Thomas Stephens
DOB: 07/10/1982
Address: Pinellas County
Arrested for Traveling to Meet a “14-year old”; and 5-counts Possession of Child Pornography. Planned to bring his victim to the condo where he worked where they could be alone and undisturbed.

Allen Treaster
DOB: 04/23/1974
Address: Polk County
Arrested for Use 2-Way Communication Device to Commit Felony; Use of Computer to Lure/Entice a Minor; Travel to Meet a Minor; Lewd and Lascivious Conduct by Person over 18 YOA; and Transmission Of Materials Harmful to a Minor. A Disney Animal Kingdom employee, he told investigators he fantasized about having sex with a 14 year-old boy and that this was not the first time he travelled to have sex with an underage boy.

“In this day and age of technology our children are the most vulnerable,” said Sheriff Gualtieri.  “Online predators are a top public safety issue across the state. We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue to utilize every law enforcement resource we have at our disposal to protect our kids from these individuals.”

“Florida’s Sheriffs are committed to conducting these investigations to protect our children from sexual predators,” said Sheriff Judd. “We are passionate about preventing child exploitation and holding those who prey on children accountable.”

The investigation continues.

Investigators say awareness is the key. Parents are encouraged to learn to use parental monitoring software for computers and smartphones (list of Sheriff’s Offices that provide the software to residents is attached); to become familiar and learn to utilize social media; to speak to their kids about the dangers of the internet and discuss when there is media coverage of the issue. Investigators ask the public to report online exploitation of children to their local law enforcement.