DAYTONA BEACH — A Gainesville barber was one of seven men arrested in a Volusia County internet sex sting.
When 34-year-old James Bowen, co-owner of Bob’s Barber Shop in Gainesville, was arrested at a RaceTrac station in Deltona over the weekend, he told Volusia County sheriff’s deputies he only came to the meeting place because he believed it was an undercover sting and he thought it would be cool to see it in action, according to a news release from VCSO.
Bowen got what he claimed he was looking for and was arrested, the release said. He had had sexually charged chats and texts with an undercover detective he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
Bowen was in custody Monday at the Volusia County jail in lieu of $40,000 bond. The charges against him were:
• use of a two-way communications device to commit a felony,
• attempted lewd and lascivious sexual battery on child,
• traveling to meet a child after luring the child via computer, and
• use of a computer to lure a child.
The other suspects included Jonathan William Hayes, 22, of Eustis, a former Florida Elks Youth Camp counselor and currently a maintenance worker, according to the news release. Deputies say Hayes told a chatter, who he believed was 14 years old, in detail about a previous sexual encounter with a 16-year-old girl.
Another suspect had chatted with undercover VCSO detectives in a predator operation two years back but, at that time, did not traveled to meet his target. This time around, George Wallace, 43, of South Daytona, made the trip and was arrested in a RaceTrac gas station parking lot in Daytona Beach, according to the press release. The release said he worked in nursing for Comfort Keepers.
Here are the other four men arrested in the sting, which started last Wednesday and concluded around 4 a.m. Sunday and was dubbed Operation Unlawful Attraction:
• Ryan Kirk, 31, unemployed, of Eslinger Road in New Smyrna Beach.
• Jorge A. Cruz, 49, a mechanic of Homestead Avenue, DeBary
• Jonathan Harden, 25, Orlando Health of Cains Wren Trail, Sanford
• Ronald J. Foley, 28, self-employed pressure washer, of Twin Coach Court, Daytona Beach